The first Redmi-branded smartphone powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset will not have a pop-up camera, according to GizmoChina citing the brand's new CEO, Lu Weibing, who reportedly debunked the rumor in a recent post on the Chinese social network Weibo. Moreover, the source claims that the recently-leaked render supposed to reflect the flagship's design is fake, which means that the flagship's exterior remains shrouded in mystery, at least for the most part.
The phone should have a full-screen approach
Although the previous render showcasing a pop-up camera is reportedly fake, it seems to have gotten one particular design detail right, namely the full-screen design. According to the source, Redmi's Snapdragon 855-powered device has been captured on camera once before in a photo featuring Xiaomi's Lei Jun testing another notched smartphone – image embedded below.
The same photo also incidentally captured a couple of devices in the background, of which the one sporting a red paint finish is supposed to be the mysterious upcoming Redmi flagship. It doesn't seem to have any display notches or cutouts but features a full-screen design with minimal bezels all around.
The selfie conundrum
It's understandable why some industry watchers may have concluded that the Snapdragon 855-powered Redmi flagship will have a pop-up camera particularly given the flagship's alleged full-screen approach, but if the front-facing sensor is not motorized as initially suspected then the question remains: how will the device handle selfies?
So far, flagships aiming to push the display boundaries to new limits have done so either by employing a notch or display cutout for the front-facing camera – similar to Redmi's own Note 7 Pro introduced last month or the Samsung Galaxy S10. Another solution employed by some OEMs came in the form of a motorized pop-up camera or a more intricate slider form factor defining the smartphone's entire design.
In rarer cases, OEMs like ZTE went as far as equipping their full-screen smartphones with a secondary rear-facing display, thus allowing users to capture selfies using the rear-facing cameras with the help of the secondary panel doubling as a viewfinder.
But judging by the information made available so far, the upcoming Redmi flagship won't have a display notch or cutout, and won't make use of a pop-up camera. It's unlikely to be as excessive as the dual-screen Nubia X, so could this mean that the device will have a slider form factor? There's no way to be sure as of this writing, but the only other explanation would be that Redmi has somehow solved the technical difficulties surrounding in-display front-facing cameras and its flagship could be amongst the first in the industry to boast this feature.
With no official word on how the device will solve this selfie conundrum, these are only speculations and only time will tell how the flagship will shape up. It remains to be seen when Xiaomi's Redmi will be ready to introduce its Snapdragon 855 flagship to the world but more design details are bound to emerge ahead of the smartphone's release, whether it will take place in the first or the second half of 2019.