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Vivo pioneers pop-up selfie camera in all-screen phone

By Ma Si in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-14 10:28

Chinese smartphone vendor Vivo is testing the limits of technology with its latest model Nex, which features a bezel-less design, an in-display fingerprint scanner and a pop-up front-facing camera.

The handset, released in Shanghai on Tuesday night, is Vivo's latest effort to build its reputation as a pioneer keen to experiment with new technologies. It also comes as the Chinese company is exploring overseas markets, trying to make inroads into more foreign countries with premium devices.

Dubbed an all-screen phone, the Vivo Nex does not have a notch on top of its display, a feature first used by Apple Inc in its iPhoneX and then commonly seen in most Android phones. Nex features a screen-to-body ratio of 91.24 percent, but it still has a slim bezel at the bottom of its display.

Ni Xudong, senior vice president of Vivo, said the company is ramping up its research and development capabilities, with a string of artificial intelligence labs and R&D centers built in China and overseas.

"Nex is the result of our consistent efforts to make smartphones that can really stand out in the fierce market," Ni said.

Priced up to 4,988 yuan ($780) in China, Nex is equipped with an extendible front camera, to ensure quality selfie-taking performance. The camera pops out from the top edge of the phone when users take selfies and retracts automatically after users switch from the front camera to the rear or close the camera app.

In response to concern that frequent use will cause hardware failure, Vivo said the camera, which comes with an 8-megapixel sensor, can be raised and lowered more than 50,000 times.

The new handset also has a fingerprint scanner under the screen, which enables rapid recognition to unlock smartphones. Inside, the premium version of Nex is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, with 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage.

James Yan, research director at market research company Counterpoint, said Vivo is putting resources into technologies that consumers can easily relate to and appreciate.

"The public do not necessarily understand how 3D cameras can empower their phones, but they do know that a bigger and better display is more appealing. Vivo's attitude toward innovation is very down-to-earth," Yan said.

Already the third-largest smartphone vendor in China, Vivo is ramping up efforts to explore overseas markets. In the first quarter of this year, the company shipped about 19.5 million units of handsets globally, accounting for 5.4 percent of the world smartphone market, data from Counterpoint show.

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