While critics debate over which one is better, it is reasonable to think that the best smartphone is the one without a notch. Xiaomi's recent patent for a smartphone with an under-display selfie camera is a sneak peek to the future of technology.
Xiaomi has showcased a working prototype of a smartphone with a functional in-display camera. In this concept, a sensor is placed along the top edge of the phone, under the display with translucent properties. Similarly, Oppo and Vivo too showed their concepts, but they seem far from perfect.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi was granted a new patent for a phone with an under-display camera as spotted by Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital. If this concept was realized, it would help us achieve the notch-less future of smartphones without the current shortcomings that include moving parts or cut-outs.
Based on the patent sketch, it shows a pretty basic phone with two proposed positions for the front camera. We will not talk about the design of the device, as this is likely to be a reference sketch, which may be very different from the final implementation.
What you need to know is that Xiaomi showed off the working prototype on a modified Mi 9 almost a year ago, which seemed to blend in with the display's operations. However, this implementation comes with a few glaring issues, which will be addressed by now through the light transmission.
Since all cameras need ample light to function optimally, the camera will have to resort to increasing the shutter speed or ISO levels. These will have detrimental effects on the images, so they should be addressed on the final product.
While a patent does not guarantee that a product will make it to the market, it shows what a manufacturer plans in the future. It is exciting to anticipate how the smartphone design would look like.
Oppo vs. Xiaomi
Last June, Oppo tweeted a video showing its version of the under-display camera. The video was tweeted to the company's millions of followers.
In the video, an all-screen smartphone with no notches or cut-outs, but is still able to take selfies. A ring of light appears at the top of the phone's display where the "invisible camera" is placed.
The Chinese manufacturer has previously opted for pop-up cameras with its Oppo Find X, Oppo F11 Pro, and new Oppo Reno 5G. Yet, a phone without a moving part is preferable to these pop-ups.
Meanwhile, after Oppo released this video, Xiaomi came up with another video showing a more advanced under-display camera phone. The video shows two smartphones: one a Xiaomi Mi 9 and the other one with no visible front camera. However, when the camera app is switched on, a selfie camera surprisingly appears under the screen.
While Oppo's video came out first, only the camera is shown, unlike Xiaomi's, which already shows a working handset.
This goes to show how critical these videos are in Xiaomi's recent awarding of the patent for the under-display front camera.