Vivo’s NEX S first introduced us with the concept of motorized camera popping up from the body.
Seemingly every phone maker irrespective of Apple or android desire that we users embrace the smartphone nick, but it is not necessary that things have to be this way.
There is a true-to-life path toward a cell phone without any ugly cutouts, cameras that slide-up and retract according to your need, and a true all-screen display.
I have learned only one thing from science fiction movies and that is phones (as we call them) or pocket communicators (I prefer calling them this) have only one ultimate form: they should have no bezels at all making them the only screen.
Although the mobile technology has improved significantly, phones are yet to evolve into a single sheet of cut-glass… until now.
Inching closer to the Sci-Fi’s concept of the envisaged all-screen communicator, we all are on the verge of witnessing the dawn of a new epoch of smartphone designs.
Leading the innovation charge—it’s not Samsung or Apple, but a few Chinese brands.
Launching its Find X phone, Oppo a Chinese brand, garnered a lot of attention. With its 91% screen-to-body ratio and motorized mechanism raising and lowering front and rear cameras when needed made many heads turn.
With only two brands manufacturing sliding, phones can only be considered as experimentation and not as a trend.
It seems that Huawei too has joined the club with its Honor Magic 2 at IFA 2018. Similar to the Oppo Find X, Magic 2 too, features sliding selfie camera, but the slide is manual and not motorized.
And not to be underestimated, Xiaomi, which was not officially present at IFA crossed the bridge and mocked Mi Mix 3. And what does the photo shared by Xiaomi president Lin Bin reveal? A sliding camera!
The modern slider will not remain an experiment for too long with Xiaomi and Huawei being onboard. It is already shaping up as a full-blown mobile fad that quite possibly will influence other smartphone makers to follow the footsteps.
Although Xiaomi, Vivo, Huawei, and Oppo may not be renowned brands owning a huge market share in the Europe or U.S., they still have managed to reach 1.47 billion of the Chinese population.
It is almost impossible to predict if these new babies will catch on as they still lie in their infancy. A legitimate concern that dampens the spirit is these motorized camera modules are more prone to breaking and failing.
The Oppo Find X is only limited to 300,000 movements up and down, and the Nex F for even lower with 50,000 moves. This indicates that these parts have a constrained lifespan and once they exceed the actuation ratings, they will, by all means, stop functioning. And God forbid, if you break it accidentally, well then, you are stuck with a kaput phone.
In this case, a manual mechanism to slide up and down the camera seems to be a safer bet, but the risk of internal mechanism degradation with regular use over time still looms.
Undeniably the bright side of these sliding phones will be that the front will be nearly all-display including high screen-to-body ratios. Until and unless the proximity and light sensors, earpiece, and selfie cameras are completely embedded underneath the screen, all-screen phones remain to be a distant dream. Luckily, we have our very own Chinese phone makers turning this dream into a reality.