The war for slim bezels has led to the proliferation of smartphones with hole-punch cut-outs in the screen to accommodate front-facing cameras. A few companies have come up with novel solutions that provide an all-screen experience, including pop-up cameras, flip-around cameras, and under-display cameras.
But that last solution usually means you’re stuck with a grainy mess on the screen where the camera is only partially hidden.
Now Xiaomi is showing off its latest under-display camera technology that makes the selfie camera virtually invisible. The Chinese phone maker says it’ll begin shipping smartphones using the technology next year.
The company says its 3rd-gen under-display technology “allows the screen to pass light through the cap area of sub-pixels, allowing each single pixel to retain a complete RGB subpixel layout without sacrificing pixel density.” According to Xiaomi, the solution has twice as many horizontal and vertical pixels as other under-display cameras.
In other words, when you look at the display, the camera area will have the same pixel density and color accuracy as the rest of the screen. But the under-glass camera should be able to shoot clear pixels through the screen thanks to hardware and software/algorithm improvements.
We’re proud to present the latest masterpiece from our Xiaomi engineers: 3rd Generation Under-Display Camera Technology! True full-screen displays are just around the corner! We’re planning on putting this into mass production next year. Stay tuned! #InnovationForEveryone pic.twitter.com/DrKeL8wZUg
— Shou Zi Chew (@ShouZiChew) August 28, 2020
Xiaomi’s announcement comes just a few days before rival ZTE is set to launch its first commercial smartphone featuring an under-display camera.
We’ll learn more about the ZTE Axon 20 Pro 5G on September 1st, but in a recent Weibo post, the company explains that its solution involves a 7-layer screen featuring cover glass, a polarizer, packaging glass, cathode, OLED, array, and substrate glass that use “ultra-high-transmittance micron-level” materials and anti-reflective treatement for improved transparency and reduced optical diffraction.