For years now bezels on the face of smartphones have shrunk considerably. What was once considered thin became unimaginably fat as bezels crept closer and closer to that magic 1mm thin mark, and then of course Samsung came around and blew all that out of the water with its Edge devices including the new Galaxy S6 edge. The biggest problem with the technology Samsung uses to make the edge phones at the present time is sheer difficulty, and as a result cost. These phones cost a premium to make and that’s just not something every manufacturer can afford to do, especially when it jacks the price of current phones up for no good reason.
Oppo’s latest patent filed in China may have an economical way around this idea though all while still delivering a phone that appears to have zero bezels. Oppo has created a “special light guide structure” that sits at the end of a traditional rectangular display. This light guide unit refracts the light from the end of the display and makes it appear that the display goes all the way to the edge. Looking at the visual of the patent below you’ll see that the 301 to 311 section is the curved glass, while 21 is the actual display and 22 shows the real bezel behind the glass. Bezels are there for a number of reasons, not just for looks, and usually tend to hide circuitry including the space for buttons on the side of the phone.
This is a great new patent because it keeps the current manufacturing process for the actual phone unit itself and only changes the glass portion of the display. This keeps cost low and yields high so that the newest phone doesn’t have to come in two varieties. There’s no telling for sure how this affects the actual screen quality but judging from a leak we just saw of a pair of new phones from Oppo and LeTV it looks like there could be just a bit of discoloration there. We’ll have to wait to get our hands on these phones to see if it really affects the user experience or if the trade-off to zero bezels is worth it.