Xiaomi is no stranger to remote concept phones. In a new teaser, the Chinese phone manufacturer pushes things to the limit a concept handset which has waterfall edges that wrap around all four sides of the unit.
Apparently the concept is so futuristic Xiaomi could not even give it a proper name, but in many ways it represents an evolution of The Mi Mix Alpha concept from 2019. Xiaomi claims that the curved glass, which bends 88 degrees on either side of the phone, has “almost broken through the technological boundaries of glass production.” While that statement certainly sounds impressive, it can be a bit tense. The sides of the phone have nice rounded edges, but it seems that Xiaomi could not get glass to wrap around the corners of the phone, resulting in small diagonal cutouts in each corner of the screen.
Another impact of these waterfall edges is that because there is glass everywhere, there is really no room for gates, so Xiaomi did not include any. Instead, Xiaomi says the traditional volume rocker, earphone speaker and power button can be replaced with new innovations such as a built-in pressure sensor, flexible acoustic film and ultra-thin piezoelectric ceramics.
With this concept, Xiaomi really pushes the idea of a portless, unibody phone, and while it’s a matter of course that the industry will get there at some point, do not think people are ready for portable phones yet– now or even in the next few years. In addition to the fact that laptops are a major repair problem, they will also need a new generation of accessories to keep them running. These include Xiaomi’s fancy long distance wireless charger, which the company claims can turn on devices a few feet away (instead of the millimeters we have now). But the problem there is that Xiaomi’s long distance wireless charger is huge and at the moment can only supply around 5 watts of power compared to the 15 watts or more we get from Qi wireless chargers.
One thing I like, though, is the way Xiaomi uses the curved glass and screen to display alerts, battery level, and signal strength on the side of the device. Not only does it look pretty slick, but if you’re going to go through the hassle of bending glass like this, you might as well use the extra property for something. That’s a bold statement from Xiaomi at a time when Samsung – formerly one of the biggest proponents of curved glass screens – has recently returned to flat screens with Galaxy S21 and S21 +.
Xiaomi claims that this concept is the result of 46 different patents, so it is clear that the company is thinking big with its latest concept phone. And while so many concept equipment exists only as renderings, according to Xiaomi PR, there is at least one working prototype of this phone out there, suggesting that it may actually be available to buy one day.