Over the last year, we have come across many different attempts by smartphone manufacturers creatively trying out new ways to expand the display size without actually making smartphones bigger. From pop- up selfie cameras to sliders to flipping cameras, there have been multiple concepts aimed towards higher screen-to-body ratios.
Last year, Honor introduced the hole punch display design with the View20 followed by Samsung’s Infinity-O display on the Galaxy A8s which was further popularized with the Galaxy S10 series. Now, OPPO and Xiaomi are touting independent concept for a perfectly bezel-less smartphone display with the selfie camera completely veiled under a fully functional display.
Unlike the hole punch displays that we’ve seen in the past, there is no cheeky cutout for the selfie camera. Based on the prototype shown off by OPPO’s Twitter handle, the front camera hides away under the active pixels on the display. In the past, OPPO has tried out different ways to deal with the selfie camera, including a slider on the Find X as well as the side-pivoted pop-up on the OPPO Reno.
OPPO’s VP Brian Shen also posted the same video on Weibo, stating that it is very difficult for under-screen cameras to produce the same quality of images compared to cameras outside of the display. “However, the realization of new technology is developed to perfection,” he added. There was, however, no announcement about the possible availability of the display on an OPPO smartphone.
Xiaomi tries to steal OPPO’s thunder
In the meantime, Xiaomi tried to steal the limelight from OPPO by showing off its own concept of the under-display camera minutes after OPPO did. This is a display prototype Xiaomi has attached to the Mi 9. While Xiaomi’s co-founder Lin Bin noted on Weibo that new display technology coming soon, he did not reveal when. Meanwhile, Xiaomi also shared an infographic on its Weibo handle decoding the working of this new innovative and “ultimate shocking” technology.
Firstly, when taking a selfie, the area of the display above the front camera turns transparent, allowing the light to pass to the sensor. The area of the display has “low reflection and high permeability” to make sure that bright light falling upon the display does not hinder the formation of the image on the sensor. As seen from the video above, the screen fills up space above the selfie camera when pictures are not being taken with it.
Xiaomi notes that this display technology is their “independent intellectual property,” hinting that their display technology could be different from the one exhibited by OPPO.
Besides acting as a display, the area of the screen above the selfie camera sensor also acts as a lens. The infographic also confirms that the technology for the display will be AMOLED and also that the switching of the display does not make any sound. We’re not sure whether this area will respond to touch but that does not recede our excitement about it.
Update: You can now read the English version of the infographic as shared by senior Xiaomi VP Wang Xiang.
Perfect substitute for mechanical parts?
The advent of this under-display camera technology is certainly very exciting and should help smartphone manufacturers finally move forward from mechanical parts. Despite the claims of perfection by these companies, we desire to check out selfies and how do they differ in terms of quality from usual selfie cameras. For now, there isn’t much information so we’d have to sit patiently and watch for the upcoming development from the companies.