Chinese original equipment manufacturers are all presently focusing on ramping up their efforts to produce bezel-less mobile displays with an 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio and bring them to a wider variety of products, including entry-level offerings, DigiTimes reports, citing trends observed at the latest iteration of the recently held China Information Technology Expo. Besides mostly border-free panels, the largest OEMs in the Far Eastern country are now also placing an additional focus on screen cutouts, i.e. display notches, another emerging trend in the mobile industry that's been gaining significant traction in recent months.
While select entry-level Android smartphones such as the Alcatel 1 and Lenovo K320t have already adopted such tall display panels, display notches still haven't trickled down to the low-end segment of the market, though some products showcased at CITE suggest cutouts will start being featured on budget-friendly devices from the second half of the year. China's flat display manufacturers remain committed to flexible AMOLED panels and while their overall designs have changed, shifting from 16:9 form factors to 18:9 ones with notches, that underlying display technology should remain their focus in the immediate future, Digitimes Research predicts. CITE saw several manufacturers announce WVGA (480p) modules with 18:9 aspect ratios and notches, indicating that hardware will be ready for mass production in the coming weeks.
China's companies are now also looking toward technologies such as under-display fingerprint readers, with the country already yielding the first two smartphone manufacturers to commercialize such solutions this year - Vivo and Huawei, in that order. In-screen fingerprint sensors still aren't expected to trickle down to the entry-level segment until at least 2020, with industry watchers predicting that kind of biometric authentication will only become a staple feature of Android flagships next year. The same is said of depth-sensing solutions using 3D cameras such as the one found inside Apple's iPhone X. The Android ecosystem has yet to yield a similar device, with recent reports suggesting Xiaomi's Mi 8, previously thought to be called the Mi 7, will be the first product equipped with such hardware, being set to launch in the third quarter. Outside of the scope of smartphones and tablets, China's small panel manufacturers are also increasing their efforts in the TFT LCD segment, having signaled they're doing so with the goal of supporting wearables such as smartwatches and virtual reality headsets.