Why this year just not worth it to wait for a smartphone with a camera under the screen

A couple of days ago, we first saw a working prototype of selfie-cameras under the display, developed by OPPO and Xiaomi. Despite the short play time and low resolution video, this technology is still very amazing, allowing us a glimpse into a future where monolithic, fully frameless design is the norm for smartphones. Future, which, no doubt, will come, but maybe not so soon.

Despite the fact that the prototypes that we have seen are in pretty advanced stages of development, it is possible that this technology still needs some time to Mature before it goes into mass production. According to a fairly detailed leak from the Ice Lexter Universe (@UniverseIce), this year we probably will not see a smartphone with a camera under the display, instead the company will focus on improving existing solutions.

Ice Universe says that in the near future a circular hole in the display under the front camera is not going anywhere, and instead it will decrease until, until it reaches about 1 mm in diameter. According to nextera, it will happen in the next 1-2 years. To make things easier to imagine: the hole for the selfie camera Galaxy S10 has a diameter of 5 mm, while the Galaxy Note 10, according to rumors, it will be a little less.

Located under the camera display was one of the biggest problems for smartphone manufacturers lately. The concept is not new — in fact, we ourselves speculated on the fact that the camera is beneath the display can be installed in Galaxy S10, as for some time working on the various rumors, and once even saw a special patent, Samsung was more than ten years ago. The problem here is not to come up with the idea, but to implement it. Technological limitations still hampered the development of the “screen camera” for consumer devices, but with the development of technology and decline in prices of manufacturing companies are starting to explore new opportunities.

In a sense, we have already seen the implementation of cameras on display, but only in the form of optical fingerprint sensors. Optical fingerprint scanner is, in fact, a CMOS sensor (or image sensor) a conventional camera, placed below the display, but it is very different from the camera in General. Fingerprint scanner needs no lens and is designed to capture images of your fingers pressed against the screen, and that is located at a distance of more than a millimeter from the sensor itself. The camera needs a lens, and it should be capable of capturing clear images at a distance of from about 30 cm to infinity, and that is why it is so difficult to implement under the display.

A clever way to implement such a complicated technology — to make the display of a camera lens. This is what has made Xiaomi in its prototype “screen camera” that is probably a solution (or a variation), which OPPO and other companies are basing their concept. To achieve this, Xiaomi made a part of the OLED is transparent. When the camera is not used, the content is displayed on top, as usual, but when the camera is activated, this part of the display becomes transparent and begins to act as a lens. This is only possible when using OLED displays, which is another reason to promote the latter.

One of the main problems when designing the camera under the display is the ability to shoot high-quality images, since the transparent display has nothing to do with a real camera lens and its convex structure. Xiaomi, however, promises to “perfect selfie, clearer and more vibrant than the camera in the hole” that certainly is an interesting statement, especially given the comparison with a camera in the hole. It should be taken with some skepticism because some of the nuances of this promise could be lost in the translation from his native Chinese.

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