Nowadays, all mobile phones, from the premium model to the most economical version, have adopted the “all-screen” concept, in which the bottom and top frames are either reduced to a minimal line or have no bezel at all. But a decade ago that wasn’t quite the case.
Enter this link, which is simply the result of typing the string “Smartphones 2014” into Google. As we see, All cell phones had screens framed by the sides and top bezel, and some of them even retain the front physical button. And the dream of many to see completely clear screens would come true this year.
Sharp Aquos Crystal
Do you see the cell phone directly below this paragraph? It is the relatively unknown and completely forgotten Sharp Aquos Crystal, a smartphone – it had been seven years since mobile phones had become intelligent – that did what no manufacturer – or designer – had dared to do: Remove the bezels.
He actually only removed one, and The screen was no larger than 5.5 inches -the standard today is 6.43”- but that already made the terminal look impressive and was something unique on the scene this year. And I achieved something else: I planted a thought in the minds of the designers at Xiaomi, a company that had only existed for 6 years but already had something that the rest did not have: a growing product ecosystem This went beyond phones and tablets.
Xiaomi Mi Mix, the all-screen
In 2016, and with a view to competing with rivals such as Samsung, which had success and prestige with its Samsung Galaxy 6 and 7 with a curved screen, Xiaomi set new standards in design with its mobile phone Xiaomi Mi Mix, a terminal that was similar to the Sharp Aquos Crystal and surpassed it with a front made up of more than 90% screen, without frames top, no sides and just a bevel at the bottom.
And also, with a size that is normal today but was crazy a decade ago: 6.4 inch screen. The work of Philippe Stark, a renowned industrial designer in the world, who wanted to show a new approach to the visual and functional aspect, the use of such a large frame logically had an impact on the rest of the smartphone, both externally and internally.
A design that forced us to rethink elements
The endless screen of the first Mi Mix forced Xiaomi to do this Move the selfie camera to the bottom of the display and reduce its size by 50% without compromising its effectiveness, which today could be solved, for example, by micro-perforation on the screen.
The infrared sensor also underwent changes: it remained in the same place, but Xiaomi replaced it with an ultrasonic proximity sensor, allowing it to be integrated into the upper part without sacrificing an iota of the screen. And on the subject of resolution: Xiaomi has developed its own aspect ratio, from 17:9 to 2040 x 1080 Full HD. The reason? That more content and elements can fit on the screen while maintaining the same space.
The “piece of resistance” of the Mi Mix or its most curious feature given the size of the screen and the internal components. A decade ago, Xiaomi realized that its Mi Mix could not mount a traditional speaker because I had no space to put a front one. For this reason, he resorted to a “complicated” and at the same time crucial solution: piezoelectric ceramics.
How can you project sound if you don’t have a speaker for it? In this way: Every sound that came from the Mi Mix, be it a song, a notification, a button press or the voice on a call, was transmitted through the terminal frame. The Mi Mix system had a DAC, a part that we find in practically all smartphones and is responsible for converting digital audio signals into analog signals, which in turn transmits this sound to a piezoelectric ceramic part. This piece was responsible for convert the electrical energy that came from the DAC into mechanical energy.
In this case, when receiving the analog audio, the piece is deformed to in turn transmit it to the metal frame of the Mi Mix. From the digital source to our ears without using a traditional speaker. This meant the phone didn’t need a speaker in the frame or a physical opening for the sound to play.
Praised, successful and for under 600 euros
Very similar to the Mi Note 2 in terms of technical data, the Mi Mix had a Back then very powerful Snapdragon 821 processor, an Adreno 530 GPU and a dual memory configuration, with one model with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB of internal storage and another with 6GB of LPDDR4 and 256GB of storage. One of the criticisms was the rear camera with a 16-megapixel PDAF f/2.0 sensor and the front camera with 5 MP.
As for the price, Xiaomi has once again played hardball and adjusted the price of a mobile phone that was a flagship. Combine 4GB + 128GB It cost about 474 euros, and that 6GB + 256GB rose to 542 euros.
Praised by critics for its revolutionary design, the Xiaomi Mi Mix was a success, although not by much. What was the first of its kind, the beginning of a family that soon ended, but Xiaomi itself recovered and got a successor with the one just a year later Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 We’ll save it for another weekend.