Remember the Vivo Apex concept phone that was launched at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018? This smartphone was an attraction not only because of its ultra-narrow bezel and built-in fingerprint sensor, its pop-up front camera was quite attractive too. Now, information just surfaced online that the patent to the pop-up camera actually belongs to Essential.
An article of Vivo Apex on Gizmodo was tweeted to Andy Rubin (Founder of Essential and Co-founder of Android) by an Essential fan named Rafael and he asked if Rubin had seen the news. Rubin replied affirmatively with a Google link which turns out to be a US patent (US9736383B2) page which shows that this patent is actually a “way to maximize the display area of mobile devices” and it was first submitted by Essential in May 2016.
— Rafael Villar (@RitterRav) March 2, 2018
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) March 3, 2018
This patent covers the exact same content as Vivo Apex and was authorized in August 2017. As can be seen from the patent drawings, the camera is placed inside the mobile device and can be ejected when the camera is on, just as the Vivo Apex was designed. Though Essential has acquired a patented pop-up camera, it has not yet produced a related product, and Vivo Apex is pre-empted, and perhaps Essential next release will be a similar device.