Huawei’s grand comeback? Mate 50 Pro concept renders show a curved arc-display and two massive camera bumps

The past few years have been rough for Huawei. After being hit by heavy sanctions by the US government and subsequently seeing multiple vendors, carriers, and even tech suppliers back out of all contracts with the company, the company’s gone into a global hibernation of sorts. In 2017, it held the mantle of the world’s second-largest smartphone company, dethroning Apple in the process… now, Huawei’s phones, tablets, and laptops aren’t something the world hears much about. The flagship Mate series, however, seems to be the only buzzworthy device in Huawei’s current line-up, and Technizo Concept and LetsGoDigital have pieced together what could be the upcoming Mate 50 Pro smartphone.

The renders present a rather new direction for smartphones in general. The back of the smartphone comes with not one, but two camera bumps (that sit on a third raised surface), while the front is almost entirely just a display. Notably, the display curves onto both the left and right surfaces, forming what is being referred to as an ‘arc display’, and absorbing the area where you’d commonly find the power and volume buttons.

Designer: Technizo Concept for LetsGoDigital

The removal of the buttons gives the Mate 50 Pro its unique character. The screen now cascades towards the left and the right, allowing relevant information to be moved to these two ‘bars’ on the side. In fact, battery information, notifications, and the time now sit on the side – almost like information on the spine of a book – instead of on the top. This allows the front of the phone to be as ‘picturesque’ and clutter-free as possible… a fact reinforced by the presence of a discreet under-display camera instead of the intrusive hole-punch camera.

The buttons exist within this cascading screen too (as displayed in the image at the end of the article) as virtual touch-zones that you can push to wake the screen, control the volume, quick-launch apps, and even use as controls while gaming. According to the patent files analyzed by LetsGoDigital, the screen ‘strips’ on the side are force-sensitive, which means they respond differently based on how hard or soft you press the area. This allows you to build multiple functions into the same touch-zone, allowing you to tap softly to change volume, or harder to skip tracks. The documentation further states that the smartphone will be equipped with an AI chip, a heat dissipation regulation system (a cooling system), a vibration component, and even a stereo speaker.

Flip the phone over and you’re presented with two massive camera bumps. This layout may be familiar to people who remember the humongous camera bumps on the Huawei P50 (which received the ire of the internet back when it debuted in July). At least with the Mate 50 Pro concept, the camera bumps sit against a dark background, merging in instead of standing out like two black holes on the rear of the device.

While a lot of the details shown here are merely visualizations, there are a few things we can say with a respectable deal of certainty. The Mate 50 Pro will almost certainly be 5G ready, and will run on the latest version of the company’s HarmonyOS. There’s no concrete timeline on when Huawei will launch or even ship these phones, given that the entire tech world is dealing with severe chip shortages (something that’s added fuel to the fire with Huawei’s existing sanction problems). Nevertheless, these images definitely do paint a rosy picture of what the Chinese tech-giant is capable of achieving, even with limited resources.

Images via LetsGoDigital

With extending screens, LED bar, wireless charging & more, this PC is everyone’s dream desk setup!

This all-in-one desktop PC takes the next technological leap, leveraging the capabilities of 5G to bring forth an all-in-one PC design that uses cloud streaming to run high-end softwares remotely.

The ultra-thin 24-inch iMac is a desirable piece of technology that demands a premium price. The closest competition to this niche PC form factor is the Acer Aspire S 24 or the HP Envy all-in-one computer line-up. Although, such is the design iteration and performance of Apple’s all-in-one desktop that other options are somewhat over-shadowed. So, there is a definite premium market that Windows PC manufacturers can cash in on, leaving Apple to push even more for their upcoming iMac models.

The core of the idea penned by product designer Seong Yong Kim is the controlling capability of a high-performance PC using real-time remote streaming courtesy of the 5G technology. It is much like Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform that relies on ultra-fast connectivity speed to run games on high-end hardware on remote servers without the need to physically purchase an expensive graphics card, CPU or RAM.

Christened 5G Workstation FLOW, this PC is capable of running resource-heavy photo and video editing software, graphics-intensive games, music composition applications, or anything that requires high-end CPU and GPU processing – remotely from the servers without any issues. Seong has designed the FLOW PC keeping in mind content creators who are constantly pushed to upgrade their hardware to meet the requirements of ever-evolving applications.

This concept PC is a very good example of things to come in the future as the tech community makes the gradual shift towards workflow that’s tailored for performance sans the need to upgrade the internal hardware to keep u with performance requirements over the years to come. In addition to that, FLOW is much more than just a beautiful display with its in-built height-adjustable mount arm stand.

The monitor can extend into a multi-monitor configuration by simply clipping on the extra monitors to the main panel. To extend the functionality, the mount arm has an extending LED bar that doubles as a wireless charger for gadgets and displays real-time widget information such as weather updates, incoming messages on your phone, or prompts for software updates. The wireless keyboard comes with USB ports for quick wired charging needs.

For quick access to favorite applications, there is an accompanying remote and a trackpad in themed color to complete the ecosystem. The designer however doesn’t elaborate much in detail on the functionality of these add-ons. Overall this idea of making the metamorphosis towards cloud-oriented PC services is something I like already!

Designer:  Seong Yong Kim

BlackBerry Passport 2 concept images emerge, sporting iconic physical QWERTY keyboard + a dual-lens main camera

It seems like the ‘berry still has some juice left in it! The Passport 2 concept builds on the successful 2014 BlackBerry Passport, and does what BlackBerry does best… provide a uniquely different smartphone experience that’s characterized by that beautiful QWERTY keyboard.

For everyone who thought BlackBerry was done and dusted, 2020’s been a pretty interesting year for the company. Chinese giant TCL no longer holds the rights to manufacture BlackBerry phones, and since August of last year, the Canadian smartphone company has been partnering with American brand OnwardMobility to keep the BlackBerry name alive. While both companies have been pretty mum about what’s in the pipeline, Ts Designer and LetsGoDigital have been cooking up some concepts based on the fragments of news they’ve gathered from press releases and company statements. Meet the Passport 2, a conceptual Android-running BlackBerry phone with a 4.5-inch touchscreen display, a physical keyboard, and a 5G chip on the inside.

I have to admit that seeing a new BlackBerry does give me a bit of nostalgia. I’ve never been a fan of touchscreen keyboards, and that’s a complaint that BlackBerry and I have always had in common; although BlackBerry phones have an archetype, and it’s safe to say that the archetype isn’t really popular anymore. However, there are still probably some people who would prefer a BlackBerry in 2021, and I’d venture a guess that the Passport 2 concept is targeted firmly towards them. LetsGoDigital reports that the Passport 2 is envisioned as BlackBerry’s first 5G-ready phone, with a waterproof exterior and Android OS interior. The overall aesthetic of the phone hasn’t deviated too much from BlackBerry’s signature style, and it looks every bit like the Passport from 2014, although with a slicker design featuring a slimmer upper bezel, gold accents around the sides and the keyboard, and a nifty dual-lens camera on the back… you know, to keep the customer happy!

Sadly though, the Passport 2, as exciting as it may look, is just a fan-made concept for now. OnwardMobility and BlackBerry are definitely working on a 5G Android phone according to reports, and I’ll be pretty happy if it looks even half as good as this!

Designer: Ts Designer for LetsGoDigital

Images via LetsGoDigital

Unusual Apple iPhone 13 M1 render finally ditches the notch… for a bump.

Whoever says ‘beauty comes from within’ makes a rather compelling case for this iPhone 13 concept, because it surely is, well… unconventional on the outside. Marking a clear departure from Apple’s old style of iPhones, this concept by Antonio De Rosa ushers in a new age for a new iPhone – the M1 iPhone. The ‘beauty on the inside’ for this concept is surely its M1 chip, which has definitely made a massive splash with the rest of Apple’s high-end consumer electronics… while the design change in question is in the very product’s silhouette. Unlike every previous iPhone, which has had a rounded rectangle shape from the get-go, the iPhone 13 comes with an outward notch that houses its front-facing camera.

This is probably the most unusual camera bump I’ve ever come across because for once, it isn’t on the back of the phone… it’s on the top. Marking a rather clear deviation from the design trend of the iPhones before it, the iPhone 13 concept tries to do things differently by breaking the mold and probably questioning those self-evident rules of smartphone design. The video which De Rosa put together for his concept highlights the beauty in ‘strangeness’ by looking to nature, which is filled with strange things too. His reinterpretation of the iPhone brings about the same feeling as you would get seeing an unusual animal or plant. It makes you curious, makes you question it, and makes you give it your 100% undivided attention.

That isn’t to say that I completely approve of this design direction. I like it, but I’m not sure if my reasons for liking it are based on logic or on sheer emotion. It’s clearly ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking – literally too… and maybe that’s enough to make people really like this concept. It isn’t conforming, it isn’t a sheep. It’s unique and has character, standing out against a sea of smartphones that look absolutely identical when viewed from the front. No matter how you cut it, the iPhone 13 looks unique – from the front, the back, and even the sides.

The bump serves a practical purpose too. For once, the modern iPhone doesn’t have a notch. The iPhone 13 comes with a complete screen, as all the cameras and sensors that enable FaceID sit on top, within that tiny 3-4 millimeter bump. Looking beyond it, however, the phone comes with speakers on the top as well as the bottom. The camera bump shifts slightly upward too, ensuring it’s perfectly aligned with the raised edge, thanks to the bump. Lastly, the conceptual phone flexes its muscles with its greatest feature yet, the Apple-made M1 chip.

Apple’s slated to debut the iPhone 13 in the fall of 2021, although an M1 iPhone is probably a distant dream for now (Rene Ritchie explains why). However, that’s never stopped concept creators like Antonio De Rosa from making their own concepts that embody what they themselves are looking for in future iPhones… and personally, I’m here for this upward camera bump! It’s probably practical design-wise, but my positive response to it is more reptilian than logical.

Designer: Antonio De Rosa

Meet the PlayStation 5G, an upgraded successor to the handheld Sony PS Vita

It’s a theoretically perfect bridge between Sony’s PlayStation gaming brand, and its Xperia smartphone brand.

While the company’s facing severe chip shortages, leading to high demand but throttled supply, this conceptual Playstation 5G would be a perfect way to quench the demand while allowing Sony’s entire PlayStation catalog to go mobile. Designed by New York-based Anesthétique Projets, the Sony PlayStation 5G concept shrinks the gaming console into a nice, portable design, and in the meanwhile, creates the perfect rival to the Nintendo Switch Lite.

It’s difficult to look past that Switch Lite visual comparison because, in its essence, that’s really what the PS5G is. However, the PS5G comes with some notable upgrades – An incredibly slim, almost smartphone-like design, a multiple-camera setup, and 5G capabilities. Is it a smartphone? Is it a gaming console? Does it run a PS-themed version of Android? Based solely off these renders, I really can’t tell… but let’s dig in further.

It’s been rumored that Sony’s working on a cloud-gaming platform to rival Google Stadia and Microsoft Xbox Game Pass. Codenamed ‘PlayStation Now’, it brings all of the popular PS titles to your smartphone, allowing you to game in a device-agnostic fashion. Given that mobile gaming is now the most popular gaming format in the world, it really makes sense. In that regard, it would also be sensible to conclude that the PlayStation 5G is more of a console/smartphone hybrid. Would that dilute or hurt the Xperia brand? Probably. Would it really be a bad thing? I don’t think so.

An Android smartphone/gaming-console wouldn’t be a bad thing. The PS reputation has enough weight to really create the demand needed to make this popular. Besides, the PlayStation 5G concept has a nice large touchscreen, a slim form factor, physical controls, and a powerful multi-lens camera that sort of makes it feel like the best of both worlds. Just plug a SIM card in, connect to a 5G network, and you can play console-level games practically anywhere. The presence of a 5G network could potentially help the device overcome the hiccups that Google Stadia currently faces, and just like every smartphone has a killer feature (it’s usually always the camera), the PlayStation 5G’s killer feature would pitch it against more gaming-prone smartphones like the ASUS ROG Phone, or the more recent Lenovo Legion Duel 2 Phone. The PlayStation 5’s secret sauce? Its ability to play PS titles… and also those physical controls.

The controls are what makes the PlayStation 5G a bonafide gaming phone. It comes equipped with all the buttons, a D-Pad, action keys, two joypads, and even the L1/L2 and R1/R2 shoulder buttons. The device also comes with front-firing speakers and TWO front facing cameras, located on the top left and top right of the screen as you hold it in landscape mode. It even comes with a dedicated PS button, an option button, and a share button, giving you everything you need in a handheld gaming device. The charging port is located on the bottom of the phone as you hold it in landscape mode, allowing you to charge without the cable getting in the way of your grip.

Given its conceptual nature, there’s little clarity on the phone’s OS and that camera module. It would be safe to assume that the PS5G runs a version of Android tailored to Sony’s specifications… and that camera module looks like it has at least 5 lenses (if you look real close), along with Zeiss branding on it. That would basically help Sony do two things. A. Blow the Nintendo Switch out of the water, and B. Get more people to adopt and test out its camera system, which tends to get ignored along with the Xperia lineup.

While my heart really wishes this device were real, sadly it’s just a concept. Sure, there are a few grey areas as far as the features and technicalities are concerned (Is there a headphone jack? What’s the battery life? And will this phone also be able to run Google Stadia and Microsoft Xbox Game Pass?) but at least on paper, the PlayStation 5G would really help Sony sell more handheld devices while quelling the high demand for the PS5 and eventually even getting more people aboard its ambitious ‘PlayStation Now’ platform. Go ahead, Sony. I know you want to build this. After all, you definitely have a reputation for building odd devices.

Designer: Anesthétique Projets

BlackBerry is still alive… And its latest smartphone will have 5G and even a physical keyboard

It seems like BlackBerry still has some fight left in it! After being unceremoniously dumped by TCL following a failed 4-year license agreement, BlackBerry partnered with OnwardMobility, a mobile security company, to work on its upcoming line of smartphones. In August last year, OnwardMobility issued a press release highlighting that they would be launching a “5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard in North America and Europe.” The company even stated that they would be partnering with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Limited to design and manufacture these smartphones. As we gradually approach the launch of these phones, Jermaine Smit (better known as his internet alias Concept Creator) has partnered with LetsGoDigital to envision what these phones will probably look like… and let’s just say, they’re about as long as a meatball sub.

Ask any Max-sized iPhone users what an annoyance it is to reach the back button on the top-left corner of a screen and you’ll probably figure out that smartphones are already pretty big to begin with. The Blackberry Key 3 concept adds a further 1.5 inches to the smartphone’s height with a dedicated, physical, touch-sensitive keyboard. Now I don’t mean to dunk on the Key 3, the physical keyboard has always been BlackBerry’s schtick… but maybe a slide-out keyboard would work better for a smartphone in today’s world. That aside, the Key 3 looks rather impressive.

The BlackBerry Key 3 concept comes with a profile that’s reminiscent of the Note 20 Ultra. It features a flat surface on the top and bottom, while cascading edges on the sides result in a phone that’s comfortable to hold, along with a waterfall display, there may be a chance of the phone registering accidental palm touches. The camera setup on the back features 3 lenses and a flash, looking quite similar to the one found on the OnePlus 8, and sitting right beneath that is the familiar BlackBerry logo. Flip the phone back over to the front and it kind of looks slightly meme-ish. It’s obscenely long, considering the screen’s already 20:9 to begin with. Adding to that is a slight forehead bezel (which features a single front-facing camera) and a massive chin, which houses a full QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard, from what I can tell, is a part of the display, but it’s always there… even when you don’t need it. Sort of like the soft keys often found on Android phones, the keyboard is static in its position, and can easily be used when you need to type. This ideally means a keyboard never blocks or overlaps elements on the screen, so you’re always treated to a full-screen interface all the time. I’m not entirely sure if the keyboard’s layout is dynamic, i.e., whether it changes to reveal emojis or other languages, but if I were a betting man, that would honestly be a pretty remarkable feature. I could even imagine having app-specific controls, like playback controls for YouTube and Netflix, or gaming controls while you play games (reminds me of the LG Wing if I’m being honest). There are a few undeniable perks to owning a BlackBerry phone, and I’d say the Key 3’s no different. Aside from the keyboard, BlackBerry phones are known to have a much higher security standard than your regular Android or iOS device. If you can somehow look past the length of this phone, the Key 3 could actually be a compelling device to a certain subset of people. Besides, look to the base and you’ll even notice a 3.5mm headphone jack!!

Designer: Concept Creator (Jermain Smit) for LetsGoDigital

A closer look at the camera module, which looks heavily borrowed from the OnePlus 8. There’s no reason to believe that the original BlackBerry phone will sport the same camera module, so we can write this one off as Concept Creator’s own personal touch. That being said, if the BlackBerry did have a camera that was as good as the OnePlus 8, it would still be leaps and bounds ahead of what they’ve currently got.

From the looks of it, the phone sports a brushed metal back, which would probably mean no wireless charging. There is, however, a Type-C port on the base… and I may be sounding like a broken record here, but I’m still pretty impressed by the fact that flagship phones in 2021 can still have 3.5mm jacks!

There’s no indication of what this concept’s dimensions are, although it’s worth remembering that the BlackBerry Key 3 is just a fan-made concept phone. OnwardMobility announced that BlackBerry would launch its 2021 smartphone sometime in the first half of the year, so if things are still going according to schedule, the phone should ideally be announced in the next 2 months or so!

Image Credits – LetsGoDigital

This credit-card sized antenna harvests energy from 5G signals into wireless power for IoT devices!

Harvesting abundant sources of renewable energy and then converting them into something valuable has been the quest humankind has been on for decades. This makes even more sense in current times when we are on the brink of exhausting earth’s vital resources, causing unrepairable harm to the planet. As scouts of this very quest, the team at Georgia Tech’s ATHENA lab has created a 3D-printed energy harvesting antenna that’s capable of garnering electromagnetic energy of the 5G signals to juice modern-day gadgets. The technology is literally about putting the overcapacity 5G network bandwidth to judicious use – turning it into a wireless power grid that could shape the future of our relentless energy requirements for IoT devices or mobile devices.

They’ve created a flexible Rotman lens-based rectifying antenna (rectenna) that can collect the millimeter-wave in the 28-GHz band – the first of its kind. Previously there have been attempts to harvest the 24 or 35 GHz frequencies, but they were not practical since they only worked when they are in sight of the 5G base station. Emmanouil Tentzeris, Professor in Flexible Electronics in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, rightly summed it up by saying, “The fact is, 5G is going to be everywhere, especially in urban areas. You can replace millions, or tens of millions, of batteries of wireless sensors, especially for smart city and smart agricultural applications.”

This one is by far the most potent wireless power grid capable of powering devices at acute range – much better than any existing technology aimed at doing so. The credit card-sized iteration of the technology has a spiky plate around the center, which assimilates the 5G network’s millimeter waves. Just to compare, the rectenna design antenna developed by the team is almost 21 times more capable of sucking power from any direction – making it a viable bendable energy harvesting system capable of being employed in future technology implementations for the end-user.

It could be anything from an energy harvesting phone case, a credit card in your wallet that could charge your smartwatch at the end of the day, or a deck of cards that does more than its core intended purpose. For now, however, the innovation is only capable of powering low-energy IoT devices like sensors on your thermostat, but still, it the first step in the limitless possibilities that it promises.

Designer: Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology