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Circuit Breaker

Even no-name Chinese brands are now trotting out bezel-less phones with dual cameras

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RIP, phone bezels

Maze Alpha teaser

LG and Samsung are getting this year off to an exciting start with their new bezel-deprived flagship phones, which have earned Google's indirect approval through the latter's encouragement of app makers to adapt their software for taller screens. But both LG and Samsung have display-manufacturing subsidiaries, and it wasn't entirely certain how many others would be able to offer up the same or similar edge-to-edge (or, in Samsung parlance, Infinity) displays. As it turns out, we need not have worried, because even tiny, neophyte Chinese companies are getting in on the bezel-killing business.

Maze, a Shenzhen company young enough to have taken its name from the Westworld TV series, has put up a teaser for its upcoming Alpha smartphone that looks every bit as futuristic as Samsung's S8, LG's G6, or Andy Rubin's teased Essential phone. We never get to see the bottom half of the Alpha in detail, which is where a substantially larger bezel resides (much as with last year's Xiaomi Mi Mix) to accommodate the home button and the presumably relocated selfie camera, but the important thing is the broader trend. If tiny outfits like this can get their hands on edge-to-edge screens, we can forget about screen bezels in a hurry. Bezels are likely to die off together with companies like HTC and Sony that still cling on to them.

The Maze Alpha is also notable for having a dual-camera setup on its back, joining the growing list of phone vendors opting for that as an easily apparent camera upgrade. LG and Huawei led the way with these systems last spring, followed by Apple in the fall, and now that idea is proliferating more widely too.

This smartphone is unlikely to ever make its way outside of its home Chinese market, but the mere indication of its existence is evidence of how quickly hardware innovations are trickling down in the smartphone market these days.