Today Vivo has revealed a new concept phone in the vein of yesterday's Meizu. The device, which only seems to go by the unimaginative name "APEX 2019 Concept Smartphone," isn't only Vivo's first 5G smartphone, it also eschews most modern design sensibilities. The APEX 2019 has "no openings, seams, or bezels," no front-facing camera, a proprietary magnetic power/data connector, and an in-display fingerprint sensor which covers nearly the entire screen.

Vivo's concept device might seem a bit whimsical, but last year's concept phone ended up being a herald for coming in-display fingerprint tech and mechanized cameras. The APEX 2019 might not hit the shelves of Amazon or your local electronics shop, but the ideas in it could come to other hardware this year.

The in-display fingerprint reader uses what Vivo is calling "Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology," lighting up just the area beneath your finger for the (presumably optical) sensor that spans most of the screen. Vivo imagines such technology could integrate the action of tapping an icon to open an app with the process of reading your fingerprint, effectively authenticating your every touch.

Like yesterday's Meizu Zero, the APEX 2019 doesn't have any buttons. Instead, pressure sensitive and capacitive-detecting sections of the frame are able to determine both the strength of your touch and its location. The now mostly ubiquitous USB Type-C port has been omitted and replaced by a rear-mounted "MagPort," which handles both power and data duties. No notch, no slider, and no openings mean no front-facing camera (unless Vivo has another in-display trick up its sleeves). Completing the lack of openings, the earpiece has been replaced by "Body SoundCasting," which vibrates the display to produce sound.

In more pedestrian concerns, specs are as expected for 2019: It has a Snapdragon 855 powering that 5G support, paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage — almost enough for Artem. Other hardware details such as screen specs, battery size, and camera particulars are unknown. Vivo also saw fit to include its own Jovi AI Assistant, a curiously specific inclusion on a concept device with no apparent launch date. Vivo plans to showcase the upcoming phone at this year's MWC, so we should have more to say about it in about a month.

When we asked our readers last year, a good chunk of you were happy with the concept of giving up a front-facing camera to escape the design compromises required to include it in a big-screen phone. Last year's Vivo concept device did manifest as a consumer product, if one only available in China, and the technology exhibited in it has already started to appear in other devices. The APEX 2019 probably won't be your next phone, but it might end up influencing it.

Press Release

Vivo Unveils the New Futuristic APEX 2019 Concept Smartphone
APEX 2019’s breakthrough Super Unibody design and Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology are shaping the future of 5G smartphones

Beijing, China – 24 January, 2019 – Vivo announced today at a press conference in Beijing the launch of the new APEX 2019 concept smartphone. Vivo’s first 5G smartphone offers an ultra-simple and uniquely recognizable design with Curved-Surface Waterdrop Glass and no openings, seams or bezels for a simpler user experience. Packed with cutting-edge technologies and features, APEX 2019 showcases a brand-new minimalist concept that takes smartphone design to a whole new level.

“With the goal of enhanced usability and simplicity at the core, APEX 2019 offers consumers a glimpse into the future of smartphone design and development. The Super Unibody design and Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology, among several other breakthrough features, make APEX 2019 a truly exceptional smartphone that demonstrates Vivo’s continuous exploration and pursuit of exceptional innovation for consumers,” said Spark Ni, Senior Vice President of Vivo.

Super Unibody Design

APEX 2019 introduces a sleek and truly FullViewTM design that renders the bezel extinct. The device successfully delivers an unconventional smartphone experience by completely removing physical buttons - instead adopting Touch Sense technology, which brings together capacitive touch and pressure-sensing. With carefully designed programming logic and software, the pressure sensors can tell if a user is pressing the frame and the capacitive touch can determine its position, providing extra-sensitive accuracy.

USB ports are replaced by a MagPort, a magnetic power connector which enables both charging and data transfer. This allows for a more streamlined user experience, as well as making the body more compact.

APEX 2019 also turns its display into a speaker by using Body SoundCasting technology, transforming the entire APEX 2019 display into a speaker via the screen vibration function, avoiding the need for a speaker grill.

Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning

APEX 2019 comes equipped with Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology, with a sensor covering almost the entire display. This enables users to touch almost anywhere on the screen to unlock the device seamlessly, supported by Vivo’s cutting-edge Fingerprint Light function - when the user’s finger is close to the display, the pixels around the touch point will automatically light up as an additional light source to help obtain a clear fingerprint image.

A larger sensor also enables more features to bolster security for using apps. When users wake their device from an inactive screen and press on the corresponding app icon to scan their finger, they can unlock and gain direct access to the app so that the experience is faster and more efficient than before.

5G Smartphone for Variety of User Scenarios

Vivo’s first 5G smartphone runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 platform with a super-large memory of 12GB + 256GB, and is equipped with Jovi AI Assistant, along with many other smart functions. APEX 2019’s 5G mobile network capability enables an enhanced experience for video viewing, cloud gaming and a variety of other user scenarios.

APEX 2019 has also solved the challenge of limited motherboard space by using a Duplex PCB Design which has increased the available space by 20% to minimize the overall stacking space. This is Vivo’s solution to free up space for the 5G modules, making the phone a true unibody 5G phone.

Vivo is pioneering 5G technology standardization empowered by a fusion of technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and virtual reality. In the future, the deep integration of 5G and AI will become key to the development of the 5G smartphone era. Vivo will continue to explore the future of the smartphone as part of its commitment to provide users with a futuristic mobile user experience.

APEX 2019 will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona at the end of February and visitors to the event will have the opportunity to enjoy a first-hand viewing.

About Vivo

Vivo is a leading global technology company committed to creating trendsetting smart mobile products and services. Vivo is devoted to forming a vibrant mobile internet ecosystem, and currently owns and operates an extensive network of research operations, with R&D centers in the US (San Diego) and China (Dongguan, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Beijing and Hangzhou). These centers focus on the development of cutting-edge consumer technologies including 5G, AI, mobile photography and next-generation smartphone design.

Vivo has over two hundred million users enjoying its mobile products and services around the world. Vivo is present in 18 markets globally and features offline retail stores in over 1,000 cities worldwide.

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