Vivo Apex was initially showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 as a concept phone, followed by a formal announcement in March 2018. Now, it is believed that the company will finally release the concept phone on June 12, but with a different name – Vivo Nex.
Vivo Nex is possibly the retail iteration of the Apex concept phone. There are rumors that the handset would cost even more than the iPhone X. According to an image from a Chinese retail store, the handset will sell for CNY6,998 (or nearly $1100) and would be powered by Snapdragon 845.
There are reports that there would be a cheaper variant of the Nex as well. The cheaper version – Vivo Nex S – would cost CNY4,998 ($780), but would be powered by a Snapdragon 710 chipset. The use of Snapdragon 710 will put Nex S in direct competition to Xiaomi Mi 8, which also comes packed with the newest chipset. A Geekbench scorecard earlier revealed that the handset would have 4GB RAM, and run on the Android 8.1.
Apart from the price, another differentiating factor between the two handsets will be the pop-up camera. The premium version would have the pop-up camera, while the other wouldn’t. About the pop-up selfie camera, there are claims that it pops out in just 0.8 seconds.
Screens are a huge selling point for the smartphones, and if Nex is indeed the retail version of Apex, it would come loaded with a 91% screen-to-body ratio and half-screen fingerprint scanning tech. Further, a listing on the Chinese Compulsory Certificate commission divulges that the handset would have a 22.5W charger in the box implying support for a Quick Charge 4+.
A retail store in China has put up a poster of Vivo Nex with a slogan that the handset would be “the flagship of AI wisdom” suggesting AI capabilities in the camera. The AI capabilities would possibly reflect in the features such as smart optimization, multi-frame preferences, character optimization, ultra-dynamic and natural tones. The Nex is also expected to embody the system-in-package (SiP) to deliver a Hi-Fi audio experience. Also, there would be three amplifiers along with a built-in Digital-to-Analogue Converter.
Meanwhile, Vivo recently launched the X21, which is touted as the first commercial smartphone with a built-in fingerprint sensor. Well, in an era where innovation is lacking and the biggest names in the smartphone industry are sadly offering the same old features, it is brave of Vivo to constantly try new features. Premium glass design, good camera performance, a face unlock system, quick charge and good audio performance makes the phone stand out from the rest.
Vivo, in fact, has intensified the competition in the premium segment. The Chinese phonemaker, which has been among the top five since 2016, aims at becoming a full range player rather than focusing on just one segment. The company is making valiant efforts to tap the potential in the premium market, and the Vivo Nex (if it’s true) is a good example of that.
Vivo would be pitching its premium products against Apple, Samsung and OnePlus in a segment that awards more profit but is low on volume. So, the company is focusing on squeezing more profits from the current markets by streamlining its production. In India, a major market for the Chinese company, is where Vivo is considering the local assembly of the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
To up its global appeal, Vivo is betting on the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Last year, the company reached a six-year sponsorship agreement with FIFA, implying that the Chinese smartphone maker would sponsor the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022. The agreement includes the right to conduct special marketing activities, such as the Vivo Super FAN photographer campaign, wherein fans from 17 markets would have access to pre-match player warm-ups for the World Cup, according to Michael Chang, Vivo’s brand director of international business.
“Our sponsorship will help the Vivo brand reach more young people and sports fans globally,” the executive said.
Vivo also launched a FIFA World Cup limited edition smartphone, which is based on its flagship X21 model. The handset is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor and has 6GB of RAM.
Vivo’s aggressive efforts to benefit from the World Cup can be seen as a response to the sluggish Chinese smartphone market. Vivo is the third-largest smartphone vendor in China, and the only major brand in which domestic shipments dropped last year, according to the research firm IDC.