OPPO is working on a smartphone design that hides the front-facing camera and additional sensors behind a sliding display, according to a patent filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).
OPPO has already developed smartphones with motorized components in the past, the most prominent example being the OPPO Find X. However, the new smartphone design that the tech firm is working on sports a display divided into two parts, while the Find X features a configuration that slides the entire camera module upward.
In OPPO's latest patent, the upper part of the panel covers the front-facing camera and sensors, and when the selfie shooter is not in use, the segmented display works like a regular screen, with both parts showing a continuous image.
However, when the person wants to use the front-facing imaging modules of the handset, the upper part of the screen may move outward and turn back with the help of a rotating mechanism. The moving portion of the display becomes non-functional in the process. By implementing this design, OPPO may offer bezel-less design while protecting front-facing cameras.
The patent also suggests that OPPO will continue to incorporate infrared cameras and laser emitters into its upcoming smartphones. These components allow the smartphone to take advantage of 3D structured light technology. This feature captures 3D images by detecting how the surface of an object distorts a pattern of light, and it enables handsets to offer more accurate face recognition technologies.
OPPO's decision to continue using structured light technology bucks industry trend of smartphone manufacturers preferring Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors. Other smartphone manufacturers claim that ToF technology is more accurate at measuring distances of objects. Furthermore, ToF modules could capture more information since it offers more sensor points than the Structured Light modules, and ToF sensors are also considerably cheaper.
The latest patent filed by OPPO with the WIPO highlights the efforts of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer to improve its products through the development of new designs and technologies.
Aside from adopting bezel-less designs and mechanized camera components, OPPO is also developing technologies that will enhance zoom capabilities of the cameras included inside its handsets. OPPO unveiled a 10x lossless camera zoom technology for smartphones during the Mobile World Congress 2019 last month. This technology utilizes a triple-camera setup and a periscope-style prism that provides the necessary physical depth needed for lossless zoom to work.
Smartphone manufacturers continue to find ways to hide their front-facing cameras in the pursuit of totally bezel-less front panels. Recent patents filed by Essential show that its upcoming smartphone offering may feature an under-display camera and LED flash and the portion of the screen directly above the selfie shooter will turn transparent when the user activates the cameras.
Meanwhile, Samsung is also working on a mid-range smartphone that will utilize a sliding and rotating camera setup, which not only moves the camera outward but also allows the sensor to serve either as a front-facing or as a rear camera by rotating it.