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Vivo patents what could be its next flagship phone

Vivo's new phone patent. (Source: CNIPA via LetsGoDigital)
Vivo's new phone patent. (Source: CNIPA via LetsGoDigital)
The NEX 3 and 3S are premium smartphones from the OEM Vivo with profoundly curved or "waterfall" displays. Now, this company has patented a new phone design with what could be the next generation of the same technology. It has a punch-hole camera, whereas its possible predecessor was edge-to-edge thanks to a pop-up selfie module.

The NEX 3 and NEX 3S combined some prominent smartphone trends into 1 high-end device, namely the circular rear camera module, the pop-up selfie camera and the waterfall display. However, a new leak suggests that their maker Vivo might go in a different direction in 2020.

It comes in the form of a new patent, granted on August 25, 2020 by the Chinese intellectual property authority CNIPA. This document shows a design attributed to Vivo that does indeed have a display that gives the impression of having no side bezels when viewed head-on. It may also have slimmer top and bottom bezels compared to the NEX 3 series, moreover.

However, that is where the resemblance to those phones ends. It seems Vivo has decided to drop the near-100% screen-to-body ratio in favor of a punch-hole for a single selfie camera. The aperture depicted in the patent appears to be appreciably restrained, however. The round rear cameras are also nowhere to be seen here, replaced by an increasingly rare vertical array of quad lenses in a central position.

Should this truly be a NEX of the future, it may disappoint some fans in that the edge-to-edge nature of the screen has been lost to following the crowd in terms of what other OEMs are handling front-facing sensors. Conversely, it would also suggest Vivo is not prepared to take the leap into the next big thing in display-panel tech: the under-display camera.

Some renders based on the new Vivo patent. (Source: CNIPA via LetsGoDigital)
Some renders based on the new Vivo patent. (Source: CNIPA via LetsGoDigital)


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Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-08-27 (Update: 2020-08-27)