The smartphone space is in desperate need of a shake-up and the latest offering from Xiaomi is just that.

The Mi MIX Alpha sports a Surround Screen which is exactly what it sounds like – a display that wraps around the entire device. Of course the handset isn’t all display with solid strip housing the camera array, occupying the rear of the handset.

All tolled the Mi MIX Alpha boasts a 180.6 percent screen-to-body ratio and Xiaomi explained (very carefully to not reveal its hand) what went into making that possible.

“Unlike traditional smartphone assembly methods, Mi MIX Alpha’s internal assembly is first carried out, while its display layer, touch panel, and protection layers are laminated one-by-one. All display component layers are compiled in that order to achieve high curvature Surround Display design, so the internal stress caused by bending the display layers can be released layer by layer. To achieve a smooth and flat surface, Mi MIX Alpha also uses a durable protective layer which optimizes the screen stack structure,” the firm wrote.

In place of an earpiece speaker, Xiaomi says it uses acoustic display technology and in place of physical buttons on the side, the display is pressure sensitive and a linear motor simulates the feeling of physical buttons.

As for that rear strip that houses the camera, the camera in the Mi MIX Alpha is pretty crazy.

The camera is a 108MP 1/1.33inch sensor and Xiaomi says that photos have a resolution of 12 032 x 9 024. In addition to the beefy sensor the handset has four-axis image stabilisation, ISOCELL Plus and smart ISO support and 2x optical zoom.

Technically speaking the Mi MIX Alpha is running a Snapdragon 855+, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a 4 050mAh battery.

The big question is whether this handset will be available outside of China.

The press release doesn’t make mention of an international release and it highlights the fact the Mi MIX Alpha will only start “small-scale production” in December.

When it does become available it will carry a retail price of RMB19 999 or ~R42 000.

With Samsung’s Galaxy Fold yet to be released (we were promised a September release in South Africa) the Mi MIX Alpha may be a temptation for those looking to join the bleeding edge of smartphone design.

[Source – Xiaomi]