Xiaomi’s latest concept phone has a quad waterfall display and no ports

Xiaomi has announced its latest phone concept: a “quad-curved waterfall display.” This means that the unnamed phone’s screen not only has deep 88-degree “waterfall” curves on the left and right sides, but on the top and bottom as well, leaving no room for ports or buttons. Xiaomi says this is intended to “extend the limits of the display to infinity” and enable “a true, port-free unibody design.”

As the company notes in a blog post describing the concept, sourcing a screen that could do the trick is pretty simple now that flexible display panels have grown more common. The real challenge, Xiaomi notes, was in “manufacturing a 88° quad-curved glass panel” and bonding it to the underlying display. All told, Xiaomi says, the process of correctly shaping glass layers like this involved in-house processing equipment, 800-degree heat, multiple polishing tools and thousands of attempts.

With all that said, there were limits to what Xiaomi was able to pull off here. If for instance you were wondering how Xiaomi’s engineers managed to stretch and bend that glass around the phone’s corners, the answer is simple: they didn’t. The company’s dark, moody product renders and videos do a great job of hiding them, but there are small cut-outs in each corner. So much for the “just a screen” look the company was gunning for.

Announcing a concept device entirely through renders doesn’t quite have the impact of showing it off in person, as was common pre-COVID. A Xiaomi representative tells that this phone does actually exist and that they’ve used it themselves, for what that’s worth. The display is the result of “countless breakthroughs in glass bending and laminating technology,” according to Xiaomi, and “represents the sum of 46 groundbreaking patents.”

This concept phone follows last week’s announcement of seemingly outlandish Xiaomi tech, its “Mi Air Charge” truly wireless charging system. And back in 2019, Xiaomi revealed the Mi Mix Alpha phone, which featured a display that wrapped around almost the entire device, though it ultimately never went on sale. This latest concept may well never make it into a commercially available device.

Xiaomi will announce global availability for its considerably more conventional Mi 11 flagship phone at an event next Monday, February 8th.

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