Essential PH-1 was not a commercial success, but it brought to the attention of the public the cut-out phones, something that in 2018 is already a standard design for many companies. But Andy Rubin, the founder of the company and one of the minds behind the Android operating system, plans to give up the "bangs" completely, registering a patent for a smartphone with a display that completely covers the front of the device since 2016.
Andy Rubin has published on Twitter's account a link to a patent registered in 2016 and approved in the United States in 2017, which presents a smartphone concept not very different from what Vivo presented at MWC 2018 in the form of Apex. We are talking about a non-clip-on smartphone that covers the entire surface of the phone with a mechanical front camera system that can be hidden inside the device.
Essential also benefits from a design patent I've recently seen in one of the spy images with the new Xiaomi MIX 2S, with a camera placed in the left corner of the screen. The Essential solution, however, proposes using this space as a shortcut to the camera, touching this area on the phone application
Both designs solve the problem of "bangs" in quite elegant ways. Vivo Apex has demonstrated that we have the technology to implement one of these solutions. Of course, now that Essential benefits from this patent, it is quite clear that Vivo Apex will not leave China officially, as it should pay for the use of Essential's design and technology
Most likely, a new Essential Phone, probably the PH-2 model, expected this summer, will use one of these designs.