The bezel, which means smartphone display border, is disappearing.
At the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain, major smartphone makers unveiled the so-called zero-bezel designed smartphone. As a feature, the upper and lower bezels are greatly reduced. Samsung Electronics’ premium Galaxy S10 series, mid-range A-series, LG Electronics’ G8 and V50 are representative models. China’s Huawei smartphone product and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 also adopted a design without a bezel.
Various technology techniques have been applied to realize the zero-bezel. There are three major types; the first is the 'Hall Display'. After making a microscopic hole in the display, the camera lenses are inserted. Apple applied an M-shaped notch design to place the camera and the 3D sensor module for face-ID on the iPhone X series. However, most of the smartphones launched this year are using a display a step ahead of the notch design. Illuminance, proximity sensor, etc. are placed under the display panel. There is no sensor on the front.
Samsung Electronics installed this hall display to the Galaxy A8s (domestic name A9 Pro) for the first time. Huawei also adopted hall display as the first of its products in Nova 4 last December. Honorview 20, released this January, seems to have been applied with the same technology.
The second is the surface speaker technology. This surface speaker technology was applied to the LG G8. LG calls it as CSO (Crystal Sound OLED). In general speakers, the electric signal containing the sound information flows through the coil and the magnet makes the sound with the pressure to move the diaphragm forward and backward, however, the surface speaker technology such as CSO puts the diaphragm on the panel so that the sound is emitted from the front side of the panel without existing parts such as magnets. This surface speaker technology makes it possible to break away from notch design, industry experts say.
The third is the Finger on Display (FoD) technology. FoD technology has been applied to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S10 and new Galaxy A series. FoD is a technology that can identify fingerprints as a user touches a finger over some area of the smartphone display. Putting a fingerprint sensor under the panel is a key part of this technology. The level of difficulty to realize this technology is very high to identify fingerprints correctly while recognizing minute resistance changes and suppressing noise. Apple has not been able to commercialize the technology, so it has removed the fingerprint recognition feature from the iPhone X series and installed the 3D face recognition technology called Face ID. Most smartphone makers design the phone by taking the fingerprint recognition area off to the back of the phone to eliminate the bezel at the bottom of the screen without FoD implementation. Samsung Electronics introduced the premium Galaxy S10 with ultrasound and the Galaxy A series,a low-end phone with relatively low-cost optics.
"If the bezel becomes thinner or disappears, the screen of even the same sized phone becomes bigger to make the level of immersion greater,” an industry observer described. "Various invisible bezel-less technologies are being developed.