Technology

Samsung’s New Tech Could Make Selfie Cameras Invisible

Behind the display selfie camera
sonamabcd / Pixabay

The selfie camera in a smartphone is one of the most essential features today. To include a decent front camera with a higher screen-to-body ratio, phone makers have had no other option but to use a notch or a pop-out module. However, it seems Samsung is working on a third never-before-seen option: an under-display selfie camera.

Is there a need for an under-display selfie camera?

Samsung so far has been able to avoid the notch and pop-out module by using slightly thicker bezels on its devices. However, the company knows users prefer edge-to-edge displays with minimal bezels. Thus, it is reportedly working on a way to do everything users want without compromising on the design. To do so, Samsung is working to put the selfie camera under the phone’s display, according to a tweet from SamsungMobile.News.

“My sources told me that there are just a hand full [sic] of prototypes using this technology. I don’t think we’ll see this feature in retail phones until 2020, but who knows,” the tweet reads.

Samsung’s under-display selfie camera is believed to be in the very early stages of development. It would be safe to assume that it won’t be featured in the Galaxy S10. However, if Samsung’s plan for the under-display selfie camera goes as expected, the tech could be ready by the time the company is working on the Galaxy S11. If the Korean company faces any delays due to technical issues, the tech may debut later with the Galaxy S12.

More hints of about an under-display selfie camera

A report from XDA and a tweet from trusted tipster Ice Universe also back up the claim that Samsung is working on an under-display selfie camera. According to XDA, Samsung Display hosted an AMOLED Forum event on Thursday in China, which had about 20 attendees.

At the event, the company reportedly talked about several under-display features, like touch-sensitive areas, in-display fingerprint scanners, screen sound technology and under-screen cameras. The idea of a hidden camera is that the screen would become transparent when the front camera is in use, and the rest of the time, it would work normally.

Devices which are all display on the front are the future. Such devices won’t have any sensors or bezel. A slider mechanism or a pop-out system can help achieve the same thing, but such systems are not durable. Samsung has so far avoided the notch, and if it comes up with such a technology, it will be able to avoid the notch completely and set a new trend for other phone makers to follow.

Samsung has a patent for it as well

This is not the first time we have heard about Samsung’s intention to put the selfie camera behind the display. Earlier this year, a Samsung patent first revealed the plan for the hidden selfie camera. The patent not only mentions moving the camera under the display surface but also hiding other things as well, like the earpiece and proximity and ambient light sensors.

We have had similar features in other phones, like the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which has an earpiece under the screen. However, the quality of the sound was not good. Further, the handset had the selfie camera on the bottom, which looked a bit awkward.

However, Samsung’s patent shows the camera in its usual place but hidden. In fact, if Samsung develops a camera that can see through the screen, it can (at least in theory) be placed anywhere in the screen. If this happens, it could solve a big issue with video calls: whether to go for eye contact or look at the camera.

The patent is titled “Electronic apparatus having a hole area within screen and control method thereof.” It was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization in May 2017.

As phone makers increasingly favor bezel-less designs, it has become imperative to adopt behind-the-screen sensors. Although pop-out or sliding designs are also a solution, there is always a reliability risk with them.

Samsung’s idea for an under-display selfie camera is surely an interesting concept, but it does pose a risk if the camera is damaged or the system gets stuck. However, if Samsung is working on such a technology, we can be assured that it will deal with all these problems.