Notches and selfie cameras remain the last hurdle on the way to truly full displays. While we’ve seen numerous creative solutions for them, in the future, they would be hidden under the screen. With its new trailer, Xiaomi hopes to jump on this train and make it fast.
Xiaomi today shared their success in creating a display that can perfectly disguise the front camera under the display, creating a truly full-screen form factor without any obstruction. When implemented, smartphones will be able to offer the usual selfie experience without the need for a notch, a punched hole, or movement mechanisms. The company also confirmed that mass production of phones with this technology will begin next year. Although no specific timeline was mentioned, we expect it to debut first on a premium product.
Xiaomi also shared background information on how third-generation under-screen camera technology developed. The first implementation was worked in silence and was not shown to the public. The second model was presented as a working prototype a year ago, but it was not perfect and had light transmission problems.
That has been addressed with the new development through a self-developed pixel arrangement that allows light to pass through the space between sub-pixels, allowing individual pixels to retain the full RGB layout. This was achieved by increasing the horizontal and vertical pixel density of the area above the camera sensor, in order to maintain visual parity with the rest of the screen. The module circuitry was also redesigned to hide the components under the sub-pixels and further increase the transmission of light to the camera. It is supplied by the Huaxing subsidiary of TCL.
A similar implementation was also referenced in a recent Xiaomi patent that showed a smartphone where a part of the screen would turn transparent when the front camera is activated, returning to the normal screen at other times.
If it seems like a long wait, the ZTE Axon 20 to be released next week will be the first smartphone with a functional under-display camera to be available for purchase. We can expect more manufacturers to introduce their hidden camera solutions for selfies in the future, with greater availability next year.