The pop-up selfie camera mechanism is one of the many methods smartphone manufacturers have adopted over the past few years in order to achieve a bezel-less smartphone design. Every big phone maker has launched at least one model with such a camera system, including Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei. It appears Sony is cooking something similar as well.
The Japanese company was recently granted a utility patent for a "portable electronic device" by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). The device in question is a smartphone with a dual pop-up and pop-down system.
Sony patents a smartphone design with a dual pop-up, pop-down mechanism
The patented Sony smartphone has a pop-up system that covers the entire width of the phone. The retractable part not only houses the selfie camera, but also the ear-piece which will likely double as a front-firing speaker.
Sony has fitted a similar mechanism at the bottom of the phone as well. This pop-down part also houses a second front-firing speaker. In addition to the speakers, there is also an antenna in both retractable parts.
The two parts can slide out independently and automatically depending on usage. If you want to take a selfie, only the pop-up part will slide out.
During a call or media playback, both the top and bottom parts will extend. Needless to say, dual front-firing stereo speakers will deliver an excellent audio experience.
The patent documentation reveals that the two sliding parts will change in length in accordance with the sound source. If the sound source moves to the right across the screen, the retractable part on the right will increase in size while that on the left will decrease.
This does raise a few concerns about the vigor of this mechanism from Sony, though. Moving parts are never a good idea on a smartphone, as they are less durable and compromise on the device's water resistance capabilities.
This is precisely the reason why the pop-up camera system hasn't seen widespread adoption from smartphone manufacturers as yet.
Further, with two continuously moving parts on either side, it'll be inconvenient for users to hold the device in their hands while watching a video, or playing games.
Sony will have to refine this technology greatly if it intends to launch such a phone in the future.
That said, a patent application is never a confirmation that such a device is in the works. Sony might just be covering all the bases as smartphone design continues to evolve.