At last week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference in Barcelona, Spain, the talk of the show was the Apex FullView.
The concept smartphone wowed conference attendees behind closed-doors by completely doing away with any screen bezel. Chinese manufacturer Vivo managed the feat by replacing the phone’s front-facing camera with a pop-up camera that slides out from the top of the device.
While it shouldn’t come as a surprise, it turns out that Vivo isn’t the only company considering what some might say is a gimmick to create a phone where the front of the device is all screen.
An Essential fan named Raphael tweeted a Gizmodo article on the Apex FullView to the company’s founder, Andy Rubin. Rubin responded to tweet with a patent filing that shows Essential has at least considered the idea.
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) March 3, 2018
U.S. patent US9736383B2, filed in May 2016, describes an “apparatus and method to maximize the display the display area of a mobile device.” The patent application, complete with diagrams, was granted to Essential in August 2017. In terms of general execution, Essential’s pop-up camera works exactly like its Vivo counterpart: it moves the front-facing camera to a mechanism that pops up from the top of the device.
What’s interesting about the Essential patent is that it includes an alternate solution, seen below, that keeps the selfie camera on the front of the device but disguises it as a camera icon.
As with all patent applications, it important to keep in mind just because a company patents an idea doesn’t mean that idea will make its way into a consumer-facing product.