To offer users full-screen phones, smartphone makers have lately been experimenting with a few things, such as a pop-up camera, flip camera and sliding camera. Oppo, however, is taking things one notch up, and is working on offering full-screen real-estate without any add-ons. The Chinese company is experimenting with a phone with an under-display selfie camera.
Oppo showcases an innovative tech
If you are thinking that you have heard something similar before, then that would be the under-display fingerprint sensor that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S10. Also, if you are thinking that Samsung introduced a similar idea with the selfie-camera, then you are again mistaken as they were the phones with the punch-hole display or the Infinity-O display and not the under-display camera.
Samsung first introduced the Infinity-O display with the Galaxy A8s and later with the Galaxy S10 series. In 2018, Honor also came up with a phone (View 20) featuring the hole punch display design.
With all confusion cleared up, let’s talk about Oppo’s smartphone having an under-display selfie camera. Use of the under-display camera will do away with the need for motorized parts. Also, it will make the device more durable as the absence of the front camera means less chance of wear and tear, and one less part to take care of.
This news of a phone with an under-display selfie camera is not a rumor; rather the information comes directly from Oppo in a tweet revealing this new technology.
Phone with under-display selfie camera
In the tweet, the Chinese company also included a video showing the new technology. The video shows a user launching the camera app in a notch-free prototype smartphone. Even though there is no visible front-facing camera in the prototype smartphone, the screen still showed the live view of the room’s ceiling.
For those seeking the perfect, notchless smartphone screen experience – prepare to be amazed. 📲
You are taking a very first look at our under-display selfie camera technology. RT! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/FrqB6RiJaY
— OPPO (@oppo) June 3, 2019
Also, to confirm that all this is real, the demonstrator moved a finger over the screen, and the same appeared on the screen as well. The video, however, doesn’t show the quality of the image taken from the in-display selfie camera. Getting the quality right will be the key as there is no point of having a phone with an in-display selfie camera that doesn’t serve its purpose.
Now that the company has showcased the tech, it would be safe to assume that the handset would be released. The Chinese company previously has added innovations such as super-fast VOOC charging and periscope zoom lenses into final products.
However, don’t expect the handset to launch anytime soon. Oppo VP Brian Shen, in a Weibo post, noted that the under-screen camera technology is still in its early days.
“At this stage, it’s difficult for under-display cameras to match the same results as normal cameras, there’s bound to be some loss in optical quality,” Shen said. “But, no new technology jumps to perfection right away.”
Xiaomi also reveals the same tech
Oppo, however, is not the only company to be working on making its selfie camera invisible. Last year, Xiaomi also filed a patent for a similar technology to put the front camera under the display. The patent notes that the tech uses two alternately-driven display portions, which allows the light to pass through to the camera sensor.
Also, after Oppo shared a video, Xiaomi also followed up with a video confirming the ongoing work on the technology. Lin Bin, Xiaomi’s president, shared a video clip showing a Mi 9 prototype with an under-screen camera.
— Xiaomi #5GIsHere (@Xiaomi) June 3, 2019
“No hole, no notch, no pop-up camera,” the video says.
Xiaomi also shared a few details on how the technology works, such as when taking selfies, the screen area above the camera turns transparent allowing the light to pass through. Further, this area has “low reflection and high permeability” to ensure that there is no reflection off the screen. When the camera is not in use, the screen fills up the space above the camera.
Further, Xiaomi notes that the display technology is their “independent intellectual property.” By this, Xiaomi seems to suggest that its technology is different from Oppo’s.
The video reveals no further information, nor when we might see this technology or which phone would be the first to sport it. Unlike Oppo’s prototype phone with an under-display selfie camera, Xiaomi’s phone shown in the video is a functional model.
So, we can expect it to come out soon. However, we can never be sure with Xiaomi as the company posted a similar teaser of its upcoming foldable phone a couple of months back, but we are still awaiting for the crucial details on the device.
Samsung also confirmed working on the same technology earlier this year. The Korean firm, however, suggested that such a technology is still about a year away. Oppo’s sister company and rival Vivo is also reportedly working on similar technology.