Biz / Tech

Chinese smartphones catch up with foreign offerings

Bezel-less phones with enhanced artificial intelligence will become "standard" from next year as the features trickle down from the top end of the smartphone market.
Chinese smartphones catch up with foreign offerings
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

Vivo showcase its own Face Wake technology with AI and high-level security.

Bezel-less screens and advanced artificial intelligence will become mainstream features in the smartphone market next year, Vivo, one of the top three domestic players, said on Friday.

The way is being paved by the adoption of such technologies in top-end models being released in the closing months of this year as Chinese smartphones catch up with international offerings.

Vivo, which recently released its full-view display flagship model the X20, is the latest leading vendor to unveil such models, following Xiaomi, Apple and Samsung.

Chinese vendors are adopting similar or better technologies in their models compared with giants like Apple and Samsung, analysts say.

The X20, with a starting price of 2,998 yuan (US$455), features a bezel-less screen, AI-backed Face Wake and advanced cameras that adapt to different lighting conditions. Bezels traditionally hold the screen in place on the body of the phone.

The advanced screens will be adopted initially in models costing 3,000 yuan or more but will soon be available in mainstream and even low-cost phones from next year, Vivo said.

Vivo has created its own Face Wake technology that promises to unlock the device in just 0.1 seconds, as well as advanced AI functions.

It’s the first Android phone offering such features, similar to the technology in the iPhone X, which will be available in November.

Besides market share, Chinese players have caught up with overseas giants in terms of technology.

In the second quarter, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi took the top four positions in the domestic smartphone market with a combined share of 69 percent.

Apple’s share fell to 8.2 percent from 8.5 percent a year earlier, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Huawei will debut new models next month, also featuring AI chips for facial recognition, as well as other features.

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