Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu recently unveiled what the company claims is the first monolithic smartphone, the Meizu zero. This device, which features ceramic unibody construction, does not have any ports like the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and the USB Type-C port, and the handset also does not include any physical buttons and grills for the loudspeaker. To achieve this design, the smartphone maker incorporated several innovative technologies into the device.
The USB Type-C port found in many modern smartphones functions primarily for charging and data transfer, although, in other handsets, it also serves as an audio output. To replace the functionality of this port, Meizu developed an 18-watt wireless fast charging technology called the Super mCharge Wireless. Aside from rapidly topping up the device, the tech firm claims that its technology includes improved temperature regulation, which should prevent the handset from overheating while charging. However, it is likely that this technology will only work with the dedicated wireless charging base that Meizu exclusively manufactures. People also use the USB port to quickly transfer files between devices and to compensate for the removal of the wired connection, Meizu uses the Wireless USB Protocol to wirelessly transmit the data at similar speeds achieved by USB 3.0. The handset also features support for the Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which is useful for connecting wireless audio peripherals.
Meanwhile, Meizu also dropped the speaker grills with the Meizu zero. However, with the help of mSound 2.0 In-screen Sound Technology, rearrangement of device internals, and improved audio materials, the smartphone can use its display both as a speaker and as an earpiece. The handset also replaces the physical buttons found in other devices with virtual buttons, and Meizu also included the mEngine 2.0, a haptic engine which the tech firm claims should supply haptic feedback akin to that of a physical button. To complete the removal of gaps in the handset’s monolithic ceramic build, the Meizu zero also eliminated the SIM Card slot, and the handset only relies on the eSIM technology.
The removal of ports and gaps in the design of the Meizu zero allows the device to offer IP68 water and dust resistance, which means that the handset can survive water submersion for 30 minutes. Furthermore, the smartphone also features a 5.99-inch AMOLED display, although the device maker did not provide specific information about the panel’s resolution. Above the screen, users may find a single 20-megapixel front-facing camera, while the back of the handset contains two vertically-arranged rear camera setup. The Meizu zero also features an under-display fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication, although people may also choose to unlock their devices using the included facial recognition technology.
Background: There is little information available about the internal hardware of the device, although it is likely that the Meizu zero may feature a flagship chipset offering from Qualcomm. The company did not also mention the RAM and internal storage capacities of the Meizu zero, although, given the design of the handset, the smartphone will not support the expansion of the internal flash storage using microSD cards. Meanwhile, Meizu stated that the Meizu zero will ship with Flyme 7. This software overlay includes several features that improve the performance of the device, and it also incorporates a flexible layout system which adjusts to the user. For example, Flyme 7 allows users to answer calls without tweaking the orientation of the device.
Impact: The Meizu zero represents one of the possible future designs of mobile devices, wherein manufacturers removed all wired connections and users now primarily rely on wireless connectivity. If this device becomes successful, it may encourage other handset makers to release similar smartphones. There is no available information about the pricing and availability of the device, although more information may become available within the next few weeks.