Xiaomi shows off its quad-curved waterfall display concept phone


Xiaomi loves publicising its technical achievements and only a week on from the unveiling of its Mi Air Charge long-distance wireless charging tech, the company has just showcased its first quad-curved waterfall display concept smartphone.

As shown off in the included video, the concept features a display that wraps around its body along all four sides, with only the metal corners still visible when viewed from the front or the sides.

While we’ve seen phones like the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Vivo Nex 3 employ the same 88° degree ‘waterfall’ technique on their displays, and phones like Huawei’s P40 Pro use a quad-curve screen, this is the first example of a phone combining the two technologies in one device.

In Xiaomi’s official blog post, in order to achieve both the curve and wraparound, the company had to develop its own bespoke material processes and heat the glass under pressure to around 800°C – using a method that apparently took thousands of attempts to perfect.

There was also the challenge of bonding this wraparound glass to the display panel itself while making sure the screen offers consistent clarity across its various surfaces

With pixels covering the edges of the phone, the concept forgoes hardware buttons altogether but not only that, shrugs off grilles, ports and even the SIM tray; replaced by what Xiaomi considers “more elegant alternatives.”

The concept features “ultra-thin piezoelectric ceramics, an industry-first flexible film display acoustic technology, third-generation under-display cameras, wireless charging, eSIM chips, pressure-sensitive touch sensors and more” in order to sport what is a truly ‘holeless’ unibody design – not unlike Meizu’s Zero concept from 2019.

In practice, even with haptics, display-based virtual buttons lack the inherent tactility of physical keys, which can undermine ease of use, so the viability of this concept making its way into a fully-fledged release from Xiaomi isn’t guaranteed.

Xiaomi doesn’t drop any details on what appears to be a single rear camera sensor or any information regarding the phone’s internals, suggesting that we might see some form of smartphone influenced by this display concept but are unlikely to see a direct lift, made for consumers.

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