The Vivo Apex has been wowing many with its futuristic design choices. The Vivo Apex was introduced at MWC 2018 as a concept phone that featured very thin bezels, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a popup front-facing camera. The pop-up front-facing camera was the craziest feature introduced in the phone and allowed for the removal of the dreaded notch. You can read more about the Vivo Apex in this article by Andrew Martonik.
A fan of the Essential phone tweeted at the founder and CEO of Essential, Andy Rubin, asking if he had seen the Vivo Apex concept. The tweet is shown below:
@essential @Arubin You seen this? https://gizmodo.com/this-wild-concept-phones-got-all-the-sweet-gimmicks-the-1823383895— Rafael Villar (@RitterRav) March 2, 2018
Keep the notch please.
Andy Rubin responded with a surprising tweet, shown above, revealing that Essential actually has the patent for a pop-up camera allowing for a phone to have no bezels. The link to the Google patents page showed a couple of patents held by Essential, the one about the pop-up camera is shown below.
The patent (US9736383B2) was first filed in May 2016 by Essential Products Inc. titled "Apparatus and method to maximize the display area of a mobile device." The patent covers the exact thing that the Vivo Apex did with images of the idea as well.
Another implementation shows the camera mounted in the top-left corner with a permanent camera icon in its place.
However, just because a patent is held by a company doesn't mean it will be used, like in the case of Apple in many instances. Given the willingness of Rubin to show off that patent hints at it actually being used in a future phone created by Essential.