The age of phone bezels will soon be behind us. With solutions for earpieces and fingerprint readers so they no longer require a bezel to live in, all that’s been left for companies to figure out is where to place front-facing cameras and sensors so OEMs can avoid designs like notches and pop-up sliders. Luckily, it looks like Oppo will be paving the way somewhat for more companies in the future to adopt under-screen cameras.
Today, Oppo showed off the world’s first under-screen selfie camera at MWC 2019 Shanghai. The tech allows the company to build a completely bezel-less and notch-less phone display which, at least in the renders, looks pretty immersive and slick.
Oppo says it used a custom transparent material to achieve the in-display selfie camera which utilizes a special pixel structure so the camera can absorb light. The rest of the screen floods on top of the camera when not in use so you get an immersive experience. Admittedly, the under-screen sensor is prone to hazing, glare, and other photography struggles, but Oppo says it’s working on its algorithms and hardware to reduce said issues and get the camera’s quality up to snuff with what’s already on the market.
When companies began announcing when they’d start shipping in-display fingerprint readers (the previous ultra-futuristic smartphone design), it was June of 2017. Almost a year and a half later, those sensors finally went mainstream. If under-screen selfie cameras follow a similar suit, we may not see them from mainstream device OEMs until later in 2020. Admittedly, the tech is still early and needs time to develop, but if you were looking for a phone to launch with the tech onboard by Christmas, you’re out of luck. Not even Oppo is saying when its first phone will ship, only going so far as to say “in the near future.”