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The In-Display Camera is here.

We are living in a Smartphone dominated world. As more and more people use smartphones for almost all of their needs, the competition among manufacturers is getting tighter especially with the rise of several Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Huawei. Companies are launching new Flagships every few months to complement the fast growing technology and new innovations. The latest in trend are smartphones with almost bezel less screens.

The smartphone manufacturers have taken several different approaches to achieve the maximum screen-to-body ratio. It all started with Apple introducing its Notch design in 2017. Although this implementation increased the screen-to-body ratio and was adopted by almost all the other companies, there was a widespread feeling that this is not the best solution. This led to a weird notch problem which everyone is trying to solve since then.

(Source: Apple Inc.)

The Chinese smartphone makers like Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus launched several all-screen phones with no notches by adding pop-up cameras in several different form-factors. But as the sliding mechanism needs various moving parts to function, the phones were neither water nor dust resistant and allegedly less durable.

(Source: www.vivo.com)
(Source: www.oppo.com)

Although the pop-up camera implementation was accepted by many, Samsung did not believe it to be a flagship solution. It introduced a “Hole-punch” display camera to achieve a high screen-to-body ratio. In this approach, the selfie camera is placed under the protective glass and a hole is cut out on the display to push the screen to the absolute edges of the phone.

(Source: Samsung)

Many technology enthusiasts believe that an elegant solution to this problem would be to hide the selfie camera under the display as has been already done with fingerprint sensors successfully. In October 2018, Samsung had revealed that it was working on a display panel with an invisible camera, but no product or working prototypes were ever released. However, on June 3rd, Xiaomi followed by Oppo released videos of their own showcasing their smartphones with cameras underneath the displays.

Xiaomi has disclosed their approach in a Chinese patent (CN208924293U) titled “Electronic Equipment”. The patent describes a method to achieve maximum screen to body ratio of an electronic equipment. The electronic equipment includes a minimum of one sensitization function part such as front camera, screen assembly including two display parts. Second display part and the sensitization function are attached with driving assembly below the first display and are arranged on the same sliding rail, which includes a motor to move along the sliding rail. The first display part has a transmittance section which is rounded. The second display part also includes a circle for matching with the transmittance section shape. When second display part is matched with transmittance section via the sliding rail, the sensitization function part hides behind the first screen and vice versa, thus improving the screen coverage rate of electronic equipment.

Is Apple also working on such a technology or does it have its own solution to this weird problem? It is as unclear as the use of in-display fingerprint sensors in the future IPhones. However, what is definitely clear is that the Chinese smartphone makers are hell-bent on innovating and creating the perfect all-screen smartphone that we all desire.

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