Oppo and Xiaomi tease ‘under-display’ selfie cameras with no notches or punch-holes

Xiaomi and Oppo have today given a glimpse into what smartphone selfie cameras may look like in the not-too-distant future.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen phone makers iterate with the front-facing shooter layout, as they look to minimize the bezel and maximize screen real estate. This has led to so-called “notched” phones that sport cutouts for the selfie camera, and others have developed in-screen punch hole cameras. Elsewhere, we’ve seen slider phones reappear on the market, others with pop-up cameras, while the Samsung Galaxy A80 featured one that slides up and rotates.

While all these designs vary, they share one common goal: to ensure the front-facing camera consumes as little screen-time as possible. But the next step in this push is particularly interesting, insofar as it could see selfie cameras hidden entirely inside the mobile phone screen. No notch, no punch hole, and no moving parts.

Early this morning, China’s Oppo tweeted this out, calling it a “very first look at our under-display selfie camera technology,” as first reported by Engadget. As you can see, the device is pretty much full-screen at the top until the camera is activated, at which point a black bar slides out to enable the selfie lens.

Then, in what can only be described as yet another “battle of the firsts,” rival company Xiaomi tweeted this out less than four hours later.

We’ve known for a while that smartphone manufacturers have been working on this technology, as the race to go truly bezel-less intensifies. Coupled with the fact that fingerprint readers are moving in-screen, OLED displays are doubling as a phone’s speaker, and foldables are now hitting the consumer sphere, it seems that we’re on the cusp of big changes in the smartphone realm, in terms of form factors and the core underlying technologies.

Neither Oppo or Xiaomi have given any details on their respective under-display cameras, or when we can likely see them in a phone we can actually buy. But judging by the videos, the technology seems at a fairly advanced stage.

Samsung, still the top smartphone company in terms of global shipments, revealed a few months back that it too is working on similar technology, as it strives to create the “perfect full-screen device” with all sensors housed beneath the display. According to Samsung exec Yang Byung-duk, this vision could be a couple of years away from being a reality.

“Though it wouldn’t be possible to make (a full-screen smartphone) in the next 1-2 years, the technology can move forward to the point where the camera hole will be invisible, while not affecting the camera’s function in any way,” he said.

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