Oppo and Xiaomi reveal ‘under-display’ selfie cameras for more screen space

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Smartphones could soon hide the front-facing selfie camera underneath, rather than in the display, as tech giants race to find new ways to avoid notch and pin-hole designs in order to provide more screen space.

Chinese handset makers Oppo and Xiaomi have launched into an early battle over the technology, revealing a taste of the so-called “under-display” selfie camera on social media.

Oppo was first to show off its take on the invisible concept, before Xiaomi swiftly followed suit, though it is not entirely clear how either of the innovations work.

Writing on Chinese social network Weibo, Oppo vice president Brian Shen said there would be some loss of optical quality compared with normal cameras at this early stage.

“For those seeking the perfect, notchless smartphone screen experience – prepare to be amazed,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi tweeted: “Do you want a sneak peek at the future? Here you go…”

There was no indication when the companies intend to make such technology available to the public.

Smartphone manufacturers have long been exploring alternative front-facing camera ideas in a bid to increase the amount of space users have on their display.

Apple kicked off the notch trend when it launched the iPhone X 2017, leading to a spread of similar designs, before pinhole cut-outs started to appear and more recently pop-up front-facing cameras that slide out of the top of the handset.

Other attempts to increase smartphone display space include the foldable smartphone, of which Samsung and Huawei have both unveiled devices, though the former has delayed the release of its Galaxy Fold after some early reviewers reported issues with the phone’s screen.

Chris Price
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