The race to build the perfect all-screen smartphone has seen companies toying around with all kinds of solutions that current-generation tech can fathom. You can say, the next step in smartphone evolution, would be an in-display selfie camera that disappears completely behind the display. We’re already seeing more and more in-display tech flooding the smartphone industry – everything from the fingerprint scanner to the speaker/receiver grille (and sensors) is going in-display. The selfie camera following the same route doesn’t seem all that surprising.
And already, we’re seeing the first signs of the solution sweeping its way into the mainstream – well not mainstream in the literal sense, but hopefully soon. Oppo has just demoed what could be the world’s first under-display selfie camera and even though the company is quick to note that the it would be difficult for an under-display selfie camera to reproduce the same level of quality in photos as a conventional camera, seeing the tech in action is indeed – fulfilling. Oppo hasn’t shared any further details – the company hasn’t revealed any tentative timeline when we can see its under-display selfie camera inside a commercial product soon. All this could mean only one thing, the technology could be in very early stage as we speak.
Another company that is joining the bandwagon is Xiaomi. Xiaomi tried to steal Oppo’s thunder somewhat by demoing its own under-display selfie camera tech minutes after Oppo’s reveal. Xiaomi doesn’t have a tentative timeline as to when its tech would be ready for prime-time either, but at least, it has a little more to share with regards to its functioning. For one, Xiaomi is quick to note that its solution is an independent intellectual property, which means it could be based on an entirely different mechanism (compared to Oppo’s take). Secondly, Xiaomi has confirmed its solution will use AMOLED – although chances are, even Oppo’s solution would use the same kind of panel. Lastly, Xiaomi says that it has figured out a way to make sure that light falling on the display does not hinder image formation by the sensor - by using a low reflection and high permeability display area. But has it also figured out a way to reproduce good-quality photos with its solution, is something only time will tell.
Oppo and Xiaomi are not the only companies working on an under-display selfie camera – even Samsung is. Although little is known about Samsung’s in-display selfie camera tech, the “technology can be developed to the extent that the camera hole is invisible and does not affect the functionality of the camera or the display.” Samsung is yet to demo its technology yet.