A few days after Ice Universe teased an upcoming Vivo smartphone with a curved glass display and a screen-to-body ratio of “over 100%,” Oppo has begun showing images and photos of a phone that appears to have a similar design.

That’s not surprising, since Oppo and Vivo are both subsidiaries of Chinese tech company BBK.

Anyway, Oppo’s “Waterfall Screen” wraps around the sides of of a phone, allowing the screen to extend to the sides of the device. This isn’t a brand new idea — Samsung started offering “Edge” series phones with curved displays way back in 2014. But Oppo’s version stands out for a few reasons.

First, Oppo’s iteration features significantly slimmer top and bottom bezels. And second, Oppo’s waterfall display curves at an 88 percent angle, making the part that wraps around the sides almost perpendicular to the front.

Whether this is useful remains to be seen. Literally.

Sure, the design would allow phones to have physically larger displays and higher screen-to-body ratios. But it’s not like you can view the front, left side, and right side all at once — so I’m not entirely sure that this type of display gives you much more usable space.

One possibility is that Oppo or other phone makers could use the sides for touch-sensitive buttons, eliminating the need for physical power and volume buttons. Buttons could also change depending on the context — if you’re playing a game in landscape mode, for example, the top left and right corners could work as shoulder buttons.

But I’m not sure I’d want to watch videos, look at pictures, or read websites that wrap around the display.

So I guess the utility of waterfall-style screens may depend on how device makers adopt software to take advantage of them. We’ll likely see a number of implementation sin the coming months.

Ice Universe reports Huawei, Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi may all be working on devices with similar displays.

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11 replies on “Oppo’s “Waterfall Screen” wraps around the sides of a smartphone”

  1. useless and gimmicky party trick. how do you even hold the phone without accidentally pressing something?

    1. Yet thats exactly what capitalism, branding, marketing is predominately. useless and gimmicky party trick that become “popular” when mr or ms popular flaunt just thst. We dont even really “get” what the traditional developing nation market is all about. Look at our “ultraprocessed” food supply and our explosion of lifestyle diseases as evidence we are in serious need of rethinking how all this works.

  2. More smartphone features that nobody asked for, and nobody wants. I avoided Samsung’s Edge phones like the plague, because it was a stupid idea.

    1. It’s social psychology.
      The system teaches children to be obedient, and not Critical Thinkers*.
      And so these individuals grow up to blindly trust the public and mainstream media in things like what is good and what is bad (big pharma is a good example). So when the Samsung S6 comes out to show off a shiny curved glass and prices it high, and tells them its the best, they believe it and want it. Subsequently the S10’s, iPhones, and now even the Chinese phones are pushing for curved glass phones, also with slippery and fragile glass backplates. This of course benefits the OEMs because it means increasing their profit margins, and revenue for parts, repairs, and more frequent upgrade/sales.

      When a “nobody” on the internet like the few of us here point out how bad this design is, those same individuals conditioned by the marketing, take it as a personal attack on themselves and their property and blindly defend their own buyers remorse. And because of that “fanboyism” the OEMs now feel empowered to push stupid ideas and features the nobody really wants.

      (*if you disagree, then why do you think the Five Eye Nations are so opposed to Internet Memes?)

  3. When you start to count the back of the phone in to the screen-to-body ratio, suddenly you don’t have 101% screen coverage, you have 50.5%.

    1. When the screen wraps completely around the phone with only camera cut outs on the front and back you can have a transparent phone like in scifi movies.

      1. If you’re going to go into the realm of art projects, might as well go all the way! Put one of these screens on either side, and cram a camera on each corner, under both screens. Put a speaker, microphone, and port on each end. Calculate which to use based on gravity. When in transparent mode, the 8 corner cameras are used together to create an image of what the objects behind the phone would look like if it WAS just a piece of glass, upon which the OS display is superimposed, on both sides (mirrored on whichever is the bottom at the moment). Now not only does the phone look transparent, it’s also truly directionless.

        1. Oh, like the “invisible tank” idea…
          But the sides will give it away. Unless you have cameras on all axis.

        2. It can only be “transparent” from one point of view, sadly. From different perspective it would need to display different “background”.

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