A few years ago, I posted an April Fool's Day gag for a Nintendo Phone DS. I joked around that it would have a similar clamshell design as the actual Nintendo DS and that it'd be focused on gaming. Jokes aside, that's how I thought dual display smartphones were going to look: a folding clamshell. As it turns out, a trend is emerging with screens on the back.

Maybe we should have seen this coming. We want increasingly bigger screens, but we don't want increasingly bigger devices. To this end, that's why we're so anxious to see Samsung's folding phone. The hope is that you'd get a device the size of a phone, but you could open it up to reveal an even bigger, almost tablet-sized screen.

And while that could still be a thing, dual display smartphones are a different beast altogether. Do you remember the first YotaPhone from back in 2014?

Now in its third iteration, the YotaPhone has a regular display on the front, but an e-ink display on the back. The idea is that you don't have to "wake" your phone to get see notifications or your calendar or other "always on" information. The YotaPhone is nowhere near mainstream, but it may have started a trend.

And this is all quite different from ticker display on the LG V10, which stuck around for the LG V20, but not the LG V30. Even so, these are not the dual display smartphones we're talking about.

Instead, we've now gotten our first real look at the rumored Vivo NEX 2. That's the phone you see at the top. It's the follow up to the Vivo Apex concept, which went in mass production as the Vivo Nex. Instead of a motorized selfie cam, the Vivo Nex 2 puts a full-on display on the back.

Part of the goal is to minimize bezels and to eliminate the "notch" on the front, as there is no "front-facing camera." Rather, you turn the phone around to the back to look at the three cameras to take your selfies. And you can frame those selfies using the full-on display on the back. The front is still where you'll find the in-screen fingerprint reader though.


The rumored and leaked Nubia X offers a similar kind of design. Together, they're really starting to show where dual display smartphones could be headed in 2019. Will Samsung, LG, HTC, and other major players follow suit? Or are dual display smartphones just a gimmick? And there's no way you're getting a proper case on that thing; I guess you'll have to settle for a bumper.

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