One of the biggest stories in the CES this year and the recipient of the Best in Show award was a prototype phone designed by Vivo to show off the world’s first in-display fingerprint scanner. This is a method of biometric authentication that proves there’s no need for screen bezels, rear-mounted sensors, or complex arrays of face-detection tech. a prototype of the earlier mentioned nature was shipped to China as the X20 Plus UD. Now Vivo has brought a concept phone that stands as the next evolution of the idea to the MWC.
The name of the concept phone is Apex and Vivo describes it as “Half-Screen In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology.” The idea is that rather than placing your hand on a thumbnail-sized icon to unlock your phone, you can do that in a larger area of display.
The scanning area is not really half the screen but it is large enough for you to pick up and unlock your phone without a thought. You also are able to require simultaneous input from two different fingerprints for extra security or in a case where you wish to protect data shared by more than one person.
Although Vivo didn’t say the scanner is provided by Synaptics but it works in a like manner, needing an OLED screen and the ability to light up the surface on contact. It works by placing your finger flat on the screen instead of using the tip only.
All this is in a bid to end the use of bezels which the entire smartphone industry has being trying to achieve. Apex is bent on actualizing this goal with almost unnoticeable bezels around three sides of the phone, and a larger yet skinny one at the bottom edge.
In the case of selfie camera, though some phone makers have relocated the camera below the screen so one has to hold the phone upside down, Apex has the 8MPs camera hidden behind the screen and it pops up when needed. It takes 0.8 seconds to get ready and makes a little whirring sound.
Lack of bezels also means no room for a conventional earpiece speaker. The approach of Vivo to this is to vibrate the entire screen as a speaker so that you can hear phone calls without holding the device close to your ear.
In conclusion, Apex is purely a concept, and Vivo stated that it has no plans to release a product of this magnitude. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if some or all these ideas are incorporated into various phones over the next few years.