Vivo is slowly but steadily building an impressive reputation as a true mobile industry pioneer, even though the Chinese smartphone manufacturer remains largely focused on its domestic market.

After showcasing the world’s first “full-production” handset with in-display fingerprint recognition tech at CES 2018, and moving quickly to commercially release the X20 Plus UD, Vivo rocked the 2018 Mobile World Congress last week by presenting a droolworthy bezel-less APEX concept.

This time, the company kept mum about any plans to actually sell the world’s first phone with “Half-Screen Fingerprint Scanning Technology” in the near (or distant) future, which obviously made the whole thing feel experimental and significantly less exciting.

But fret not, as a second demo event organized in China earlier this week came with confirmation of Snapdragon 845 processor usage and a surprisingly close ETA. The Vivo APEX, which is likely to change its name before hitting stores, should start “official” production around “mid-year”, presumably integrating all the groundbreaking features teased at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.

We’re talking not only a fingerprint “scanner” embedded in the OLED screen for secure biometric authentication across half of the panel’s entire surface, but also innovative Screen SoundCasting Technology for transforming the “FullView” display into a speaker, an 8MP “elevating” front camera, as well as hidden proximity and ambient light sensors.

The long-term goal is to achieve a design with a staggering 98 percent screen-to-body ratio, although Vivo will settle for “just” 91 percent to begin with. Keep in mind that a mid-2018 production start doesn’t equate to a mid-2018 commercial launch, the latter of which should still go down by the end of the year, at least in China.

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