Some smartphones are already shipping with in-display fingerprint sensors rather than visible sensors on the front, back, or sides of the phone. Soon we may see phones with in-display cameras as well.

Chinese device maker Oppo revealed that it was developing an under-glass smartphone camera earlier this year. This week the company showed off the latest prototype of a smartphone that uses that technology.

While there’s still a small portion of the display that looks odd from certain angles and in certain lighting conditions, it’s smaller than it was in June. And Oppo went a step further with this prototype, eliminating all ports and buttons.

This wouldn’t be the first button-less, port-free smartphone. The Meizu Zero revealed earlier this year also went all-in on features like wireless charging, pressure sensitive sides (in lieu of power and volume buttons), and an in-display fingerprint sensor. But Meizu failed to make its crowdfunding goal for the phone, so that phone remained a concept.

Meanwhile, rumor has it that Apple plans to launch an iPhone with no physical ports. If that happens, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other phone makers follow suit — just as they did when Apple introduced the notch, dropped the headphone jack, or even used capacitive touch displays (before the original iPhone, most smartphones had resistive touchscreens).

But as usual, it looks like Chinese phone makers like Oppo might beat Apple to the punch… for better or worse.

While wireless charging can certainly be more convenient than plugging a cable into your phone every time you want to refuel the battery, it also tends to be slower and less efficient. You also can’t easily use your phone while it’s on a charging pad the way you can while it’s plugged in. So I’d be sad to see the USB port go.

And for now in-display cameras aren’t quite as good as their unobstructed conterparts. But if you don’t actually take selfies or make video calls all that often, then an under-glass camera might be more appealing than a thick bezel, notch, or punch hole camera that obstructs a portion of the screen.

via CNBeta and Android Police

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  1. This whole thread is nothing but a bunch of old men crying about how good smartphones used to be. This is inevitable. Get used to it or go use your old nokia 3310

    1. You don’t know if they’re crying, men, or old, or if there’s many more that share the resentment.
      Skepticism and pro-consumer are good attitudes to have. Otherwise companies will push the envelope further and further into absurdity, using psychological tricks, marketing, and lies, to sell more devices which are lower-quality and cost more.

      I think you should be more open-minded, because one-day you will become those “crying old men”.
      ; )

  2. Meanwhile the main phone I’m interested in has a full QWERTYs worth of buttons, fxtec’s pro1. Ah, buttons. Ports are nice too. Front-facing speakers. Basically the mainstream smartphone market is like torture to me.

    Anyone remember when form followed function? Yeah, me neither.

  3. And there will be people who actually think this is cool and will give up their hard earned money for this crap. Next up, phones without screens. They will be “brave” and tell you that you have to talk to your phone through your watch (sold separately).

    1. If there’s anything they’ll actually remove next it’s built in speakers, thereby requiring a Bluetooth headset of some kind. You don’t have a problem wearing the Pixel Buds 24/7, do you?
      They’d be crazy to do it for several reasons, but Apple removing the USB connectivity is just as crazy.
      The screen is probably the one thing they’ll keep. A screen is advertising space.

  4. But howto unbrick your phone, if it has no ports?
    -remember airbnb smart locks.. that bricked after bad update
    How to install a custom rom? Or root it?
    I really like using samsung dex…will there be a wireless charging and datatranfer mat?
    No more buttons/headphone jack/usb port/stereo speakers/replacement batt..
    yet the price keeps going up?

  5. I was pretty happy with where smartphones were around 2015 or 2016. That seemed to be when they were still adding features that were good for a lot of people. Ever since, it seems like they’re making the phones worse. Before the Galaxy S6, there were good phones with removeable batteries. But those went away and they tell us the market has decided. They took away the headphone jack and told us the market has decided. They added curved edges and told us the market decided. When the S7 had curved and non-curved variant, the curved one had higher specs so of course people chose that. Yet I hear many complaints about curved edges a couple of years later. They pushed notches. Now, they want to eliminate ports and buttons. I’d prefer having two USB ports. It’s just my opinion, but most of the new smartphone features of the last several years have been major steps backward.

    1. 2016 was the beginning of the end.
      2015 was sort of a dud.
      2014 is when they jumped the shark, I believe.

      Now I’m not a person that is opposed to style, I simply prefer practicality. I want to see my phone firstly as a tool instead of fashion. For that reason, I think there is actually two “best phones”. The question is really; what do you prefer?

      Firstly is the Stylish and Futuristic:
      179 grams and 179 x 79 x 7.9mm dimensions
      7.49 inch 21:9 screen
      +1440p-Pentile SAM-OLED (deepest blacks)
      144Hz Active Sync display (fluid animations)
      794 nits Mobile-HDR compatible
      Display Rounded Corners
      Almost No Bezels (2mm each side)
      Underscreen dual selfie camera
      Vibrational Face Mono Speaker
      Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
      Triple rear camera (ultrawide, regular, zoom)
      eSIM and microSD, no IrDa blaster
      Standard Headphone Jack and USB 3.1-TypeC
      Limited Support for Video out, OTG, and Connections
      Home Console via Xbox One controller connection (needs purse/backpack, not pocketable)
      Shiny exterior, styling and renders
      Thin (6mm) phone body (front to back), with thick (8mm) sideframe
      Backplate and Frontplate of transparent flat plastic (shockproof)
      Curved Tempered Glass for back and front
      Stainless Steel sideframe
      Submersible IP68 waterproofing
      4,179mAh non-removable battery
      Convenient Super Fast Charging (60W)
      Maximum Density Internals, monolithic design (non-refurbishable)
      Skinned Android OS (FlymeOS looks best)(unlockable bootloader)
      Probably retails for USD $947 ??

      Secondly is the Rugged and Practical:
      200 grams and 150 x 80 x 8.0mm dimensions
      6.10 inch 16:9 screen
      1080p-RGBW LCD-IPS (no burn-in)
      60Hz Refresh Rate (much better battery life)
      1,000 nits HDR10+ supported
      Display Square Corners
      Symmetrical Top-Bottom Slim Bezels (8mm)
      Sensors and Selfie embedded inside bezels
      Front-firing stereo loudspeakers
      Rear fingerprint scanner
      Single Main camera (large sensor)(attachable lenses for ultrawide, macro, zoom)
      DualSIM-microSD slot and IrDa blaster
      QuadDAC Headphone Jack and ThunderBolt-3 port
      Wide Support for External Dock for Charging, HDMI, Ethernet, Aux, and Host-OTG
      Handheld Console with dedicated JoyCon physical attachment (pocketable gamepad)
      Matte and chamfered exterior, rugged photographs
      Thick (9mm) phone body (front, side, back)
      Backplate of Military Kevlar (non-fragile), Frontplate of Gorilla Glass 6
      Tempered Glass for front, optional bumper case for back
      Aluminium sideframe
      Non-submersible (IP66) Splash water resistance
      5,000mAh User Removable Battery
      Healthy-Battery Charging (20W)
      High Density Internals, Modular Design (USB port, Headphone port, Speakers, Cameras)
      Stock AndroidOne OS (can flash Alternate OS like Jolla SailfishOS)
      Probably retails for USD $800 ??

  6. Removing the USB port is basically admitting that smartphones aren’t supposed to be anything except a billboard that you can make phones on.
    Apple had better not be removing the port. The rumors had better be from a misinterpretation of the removal of the Lightning connector and replacing it with USB-C. Whenever they do something stupid, everyone else suffers.
    There’s just too much functionality in the USB port for it to be replicated properly by anything else, far more than all the other stuff they took out. People know this, that’s probably why they didn’t want the Meizu Zero. If it goes, you can just forget about using a phone as a personal ARM computer, there’s no other good way to get the phone to output to a bigger display responsively. You can use VNC but it lags a little and requires a whole second computer.
    I use USB OTG to rapidly get photos off my camera and look at them because my phone happens to be better at that. I could just get a camera with wifi connectivity or just use the viewfinder, but it’s not as good. Plugging in a keyboard is far easier than waiting for a bluetooth one to connect, and you don’t have to charge the keyboard that way.
    With no USB, unlocking the bootloader (which shouldn’t be locked in the first place) is physically impossible. USB debugging is now impossible too, so if something in the software breaks your options are factory reset or buy a new phone, and maybe that was all your skill level afforded, but now even technicians can’t help you (reminder that non-removable batteries are still malicious planned obsolescence), which would of course mean Apple can just fire half it’s Geniuses.