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(Pocket-lint) - It looks like 2019 is going to be a bumper year for smartphones. Vivo has just revealed perhaps the most unusual and revolutionary device of the year: the Apex 2019 Concept, which features a unibody design with no ports or buttons, along with an in-screen fingerprint scanner that works across the whole display.

Ok, ok, so the big 'Concept' in the name lets you know that this thing isn't a total reality just yet. But it was in February 2018, at Mobile World Congress (MWC), that the company revealed its pop-up camera concept Apex device - which appeared as the NEX S a mere four months later!

Does the Apex 2019 Concept spell out the information for the next NEX device? We suspect so. So here's what you've got to look forward to.

First up, there's what Vivo calls 'Full-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology'. Similar to the company's in-display fingerprint scanning technology, used to unlock the phone or make payments, this updated tech allows for touch almost anywhere on the display, not just an allocated area. The software will identify the point of touch and illuminate this area for an accurate fingerprint reading. Clever.

Second up, there's the unibody design. Vivo wasn't the first to the punch here though: Meizu unveiled its Zero phone just days earlier, showcasing a phone with no buttons or ports. Well, Vivo has done much the same in the Apex 2019 Concept: the curved glass design has no openings at all, using capacitive touch and pressure-sensing to make the usual volume/power adjustments.

Rather than a USB port there's a MagPort for a magnetic connection to the phone's rear. Sound is handled by using screen vibrations - a technology that sounds crazy futuristic, but which we've already seen in Sony TVs that you can already buy.

Third up, Vivo's ongoing shrinking of the bezel - which is at its most in the NEX Dual Display - continues to up the screen-to-body ratio, the Apex 2019 having virtually no bezel at all. How that'll work in the real world, well, we'll have to wait and see (we'll handle this device at MWC 2019, towards the end of February, and bring a fuller report).

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Continuing the future theme, the Apex 2019 Concept embodies all the components to be 5G ready, for the fastest streaming speeds available (in the right areas anyway). It's the company's first consumer 5G device.

On the spec front, the Apex 2019 sounds less concept and more reality: Vivo has specified that it'll feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 platform with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Talk about powerful.

Although Vivo hasn't yet released its products into wider territories beyond China, we suspect the brand (under the same umbrella as the company which owns Oppo and OnePlus) is making plans for world domination. And if the Apex 2019 Concept is anything to go by then, well, these technologies are streets ahead, so it may well succeed...

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 23 January 2019.