Xiaomi Announces New Quad-Curved Waterfall Display

Xiaomi curved
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Phones with flexible and foldable displays are today’s hot items. But with Xiaomi’s recent announcement, the excitement about the foldable displays may soon be forgotten.

Xiaomi’s new concept phone will have a quad-curved waterfall display, meaning the 88-degree curved glass covers all four edges of the phone. With it, the phone will not have buttons, ports, or bezels. The still-unnamed phone was announced in early February.

The idea of a waterfall display is not new. Several phones having curved displays that are available in the market now are Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha, Vivo Nex 3s, Oppo Find X2, Motorola Edge+, and OnePlus 8 Pro. However, these phones only have curved displays on the left and right edges.

The company says that the new concept will extend the phone display’s limit to infinity, enabling a unibody design without ports. Experts are concerned about the corners of the screen. From the promotional photos, Xiaomi has left them blank, showing small rounded cutouts, thus, you cannot say that it is true infinity. People who have viewed the concept phone believe that the cutouts on the corners are meant to prevent the palm from touching the phone’s body.

While Xiaomi says that there is already a phone with their latest innovation, they have only shown promotional photos and videos of the concept phone.

Xiaomi’s challenges

With the 88° hyper quad-curved screen design, the phone’s visual interfaces are like water flowing over the surface of the phone, since the screen covers the phone’s entire frame.

Xiaomi is a global technology leader and innovator. In developing the quad-curved waterfall screen, which is the first in the world, the company faced many challenges.

Their engineers’ biggest challenge was in manufacturing an 88° quad-curved glass panel. They were also challenged on how to have a 3D bonding process. They were able to develop a glass processing equipment that can hot bend glass under 800°C high temperature and pressure, as well as four separate polishing tools. Xiaomi truly went to great lengths to innovate, developing ten complex procedures just for glass polishing.

Another thing they developed was the 3D bonding process, which they made possible by adopting a screen stacking design.

Creating that quad-curve waterfall display was perfected after thousands of attempts. It was a breakthrough design. More importantly, the process gave Xiaomi 46 self-developed patented technologies.

It’s still at the early stage

The announcement of the new concept phone is not yet complete. Xiaomi has not given any information regarding the buttons and ports.

The groundbreaking features that are known include the following:

  • pressure-sensitive touch sensors
  • eSIM chips
  • wireless charging,
  • third-generation under-display cameras
  • industry-first flexible film display acoustic technology
  • ultra-thin piezoelectric ceramics

The people who have seen the concept phone liked the idea of having the status bar at the upper right-hand side of the phone.

Since there are no buttons and ports, tech people believe that the phone will have pressure-sensitive touch sensors, and most probably flexible film display acoustic technology, which will be an industry-first, to replace the speaker and grille. The lack of a USB port means that charging would be wireless. Perhaps the phone will be made to work with another Xiaomi product it announced recently, the Mi Charge Air.

waterfall displays curved
Image Source:×754.jpg
Issues with waterfall display

Before the waterfall display, phone manufacturers have come up with phones with less side bezels. Doing so improved the screen-to-body ratio, increasing the screen real estate.

A waterfall display eliminates the side bezels, with the curved glass cover allowing the display to overflow to the sides, like a waterfall. The side bezels provide the phone some protection. Without the bezels, many believe that the phone can be easily damaged when dropped.

The design may be attractive, pushing designers and developers to create innovative solutions and bespoke software. However, a waterfall display had some issues. It is easy to accidentally touch the curved edges, which can cause the device to run other unneeded applications simultaneously.

Without buttons on the side, the device needs a pressure-sensitive layer under the screen for power and volume control, which is difficult to use.

It would be difficult to find a screen protector and case for the phone. And people who first saw the concept phone think that repairing it would be costly. Moreover, controls for some apps may spill over to the curved sides, which will be difficult to access. People think that they may experience typing issues as well, since letters on the sides of the keyboard will be moved farther, and therefore difficult to reach.

These issues are speculations. Consumers will have to wait and see what Xiaomi will add to their quad-curved waterfall display to make use of the curved sides beyond aesthetics.