Xiaomi just unveiled a radical new smartphone design, and the wraparound screen could lead the way for phones of the future.
Crafted from a single piece of sapphire glass and finished with a titanium alloy, the Mi Mix Alpha is a seriously innovative design that could shape the smartphone market for years to come. The screen goes a stage further than the curved, ‘waterfall’ designs we’ve seen on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and even occupies most of the rear panel of the device to hit that incredible, seemingly mathematics-defying 180.6% screen-to-body ratio.
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The mould-breaking design has several consequences for how you use your smartphone day-to-day. Firstly of course, there are no physical buttons on the side: taking their place, Xiaomi has installed pressure-sensitive areas with a linear motor, which the brand claims “simulate the touch of real buttons”. The brand also has announced a ‘mis-touch detection’ system that it claims will get around the pesky problem of your palm print registering as a touch command.
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But the most exciting possibilities come from the use of the camera; now you can simply turn the device around and use your main camera as the selfie camera (an innovation also offered by the similarly innovative reversible camera module of the Asus Zenfone 6), with the back panel screen showing the camera viewfinder. And it’s not just any old camera: the Mi Mix Alpha packs a dizzying 108-megapixel sensor, a stunning resolution far higher even than 8K.
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2019 seems to be a particularly exciting year in mobile tech design. While for a couple of years smartphones across the board seem to have morphed into indistinguishable glassy black slates, the foldable design of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X and the wraparound screen design of the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha have opened up innovative new pathways to improve the smartphone experience.