The next innovation in mobile is peeking its head for all to see today after Chinese companies Oppo and Xiaomi both showed off under-screen cameras.
Apple’s notch set the ball rolling as a new way to pack a front-facing camera without compromising on the screen size, but it is already feeling date. The industry has since given us smartphone cameras that pop out, flip up and slide out, while the hole-punch condenses the notch further still, but the next stage is going under the screen for full invisibility.
The benefits are obvious. There’s no compromise on the front screen, which is now 100 percent screen, and removing moving parts means no concern for potential damage — but can it be done well enough?
Oppo VP Brian Shen teased his company’s early effort on Weibo. The video, which was later shared by Oppo’s Twitter account, doesn’t have a lot of detail but it does show a hidden camera that takes a photo of the 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
We don’t get a chance to delve into the quality of the image and it isn’t clear what device it was taken on, but already Shen claims the technology is showing promise.
“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. But, no new technology jumps to perfection right away,” he said, according to Engadget.
You’d imagine that a number of Chinese smartphone makers are hard at work bringing this design to reality. Proof of that comes from Xiaomi’s very hasty response, which saw the company posts its own under-screen camera teaser right after Oppo’s.
— Xiaomi #5GIsHere (@Xiaomi) June 3, 2019
This one comes courtesy of Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin, and it also originated on Weibo before it made its way to Twitter.
The Xiaoki video appears to show a prototype Mi 9 with the hidden camera compared with a regular model. As with the Oppo tease, we don’t know when this technology will reach consumers but these tactical leaks certainly show that the wheels are in motion.