It took years for smartphone makers to make all-screen phones that feature small bezels, and we thought smartphone design will stall for a few years now that everyone is ready to deliver generally the same design. Some of the current phones have notches, and others have hole-punch cameras. Some of them feature curved edges, and others have cameras that slide up when needed. But all of them feature tiny bezels around the screen, with most Android phones packing a noticeable “chin” bottom bezel. Things are about to change faster than we thought, and the first phones to feature even more daring screen designs are almost here. We’ve seen a bunch of reports and leaks showing the kind of screen technology smartphone makers are working on, but now we have the first official take on this particular screen design breakthrough. And it’s not coming from Samsung or Apple.
We’ve heard of phones with extreme edge curvatures in the past few weeks, and we soon learned that the Mate 30 Pro will deliver such a design. Samsung reportedly canceled its plans to launch such phones, but Chinese smartphone vendors are going forward with it. Then we saw a leak that indicated Vivo will also have a Galaxy S-like curved display, with the curvature extending towards the back of the phone, well beyond anything that Samsung made to date. But those are only rumors.
Oppo on Monday took the wraps off its Waterfall Screen concept, seen in all these images and the accompanying video. The screen on this unspecified Oppo handset curves almost to 90 degrees, which means the side bezels will be almost invisible. Moreover, there may not be any hardware buttons on such smartphones. Instead, the screen might incorporate their functions, via virtual power and volume buttons. This is just speculation based on these images at this time because Oppo hasn’t released any specs for the screen in its official announcement.
What’s also interesting is that the screen lacks a selfie camera. That means we’re looking at a slider camera mechanism for this phone, or the selfie cam is built into the display. After all, it was the same Oppo that demoed its under-screen camera tech a few weeks ago. It would make perfect sense for Waterfall Screen phones also to feature an under-screen camera. But that’s also just speculation at this point.
It’s unclear when this Oppo phone will be launched, but Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro, which will feature a similar design, is expected in mid-October. Next week, the Galaxy Note 10 launches, featuring a regular Samsung edge display, while the iPhone 11 series, due in September, will reuse the iPhone X screen design from 2017.