The manufacturer of the Essential PH-1 recently filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a smartphone design that doesn't sport a notch or display cutouts.
Images included in the documents available on USPTO's website show that the front side of this handset has essentially no bezels, other than the frame that surrounds the display. Unlike the PH-1 which includes a waterdrop-shaped notch for the selfie shooter, the front panel of the new device design lacks any visible accommodation for the front-facing camera.
It is not clear from the available images how Essential will include the selfie shooter with the device, although recent reports suggest that the upcoming smartphone from the tech firm will feature an under-display front-facing camera. According to earlier info, once the user activates the selfie shooter, the part of the display that houses the camera becomes transparent. This step allows the sensor to receive light and capture images.
Aside from the differences in the design of the front panel, the patent shows a smartphone with a remarkably similar design with the Essential PH-1. The rear panel shows a dual camera setup and LED flash found at the upper left-hand corner of the handset. The back of the device contains two pins for attaching accessories, which could mean that the add-ons designed for the PH-1 may also work with the handset, or Essential plans to create new ones for the Essential PH-2 exclusively.
The patent also shows that the smartphone sports a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Interestingly, this patent contradicts with the recent report about an upcoming smartphone from Essential with an under-display front-facing camera, since it also mentions that the device will feature an in-display fingerprint reader. The bottom of the handset hosts the USB Type-C port, the SIM card slot, and speaker grills, while the right side of the handset houses the power key and two volume buttons.
Essential recently announced that it is discontinuing its very first smartphone, the Essential PH-1. On the company's official website, Essential marked the PH-1 as sold-out in December 2018, and the company also mentioned that it is no longer adding a further inventory of the device. Despite the discontinuation of the handset, the manufacturer states that it will continue supporting the PH-1 through speedy software updates and continued sale of accessories designed for the smartphone.
Essential also announced that it will be releasing a new mobile product soon. The company did not specify what device it will be releasing, and this vague language could mean that the product may be a smartphone or other forms of network connected devices. However, recent rumors suggest that Essential will launch a new smartphone, with earlier reports detailing some of the features that the tech firm may include with its upcoming handset
Aside from including an in-display front-facing camera, previous articles suggest that the upcoming smartphone from the tech firm will use an artificial intelligence module to improve the quality of images captured by the device. Information captured by a depth sensor and motion tracker will run through the AI module, and it will allow the smartphone to supply a more accurate background blurring effect.
This latest patent supports previous reports that the upcoming handset from Essential will feature in-display front-facing camera. However, it will be interesting to see what sensor and display technology will the company utilize to achieve what could be a game-changing smartphone design.