Under-display cameras are the next logical evolution of selfie shooters and Samsung may be preparing to lead the charge into the mainstream. Or at least that's the case if recent reports centered around a fresh patent from the company bear any weight.
Spotted first by LetsGoDigital, the technology in question isn't entirely new. In effect, the patent describes a camera, lens, and infrared sensor all placed under a dual-screen device. But it's the display that takes center stage here. This isn't a dual-screen device in the foldable or flexible sense. Instead, it's two screens joined together into a single panel at the front of a fairly standard bar-style smartphone.
The bottom segment of that display is a standard, presumably AMOLED panel. The top portion, stretching across the entire width, centered at the top, or in a corner of the notifications section of the UI, has a higher light transmission rate. Namely, it lets more light through the panel.
This has been done before but Samsung could do under-display cameras better
Now, ZTE already accomplished a similar display type with its Axon 20 5G. ZTE launched that handset last year in December. And the appearance of a patent from Samsung doesn't mean the technology will appear in an S- or Note-series device soon. But that may not be a bad thing.
Problems with the technology in the aforementioned ZTE device weren't necessarily deal-breakers. However, the panel there — particularly the segment with the camera sensor — was a lower resolution than the rest of the panel. And there were also some inconsistencies in brightness and contrast.
Those issues may well be fixed by Samsung's iteration on the technology if the company takes its time to get it right. And especially if Samsung hopes to implement the technology in a flagship device first. Moreover, it isn't out of the question that Samsung could implement bigger changes to enable top-tier camera features such as facial recognition and more.
When is this coming to a phone near you?
With Samsung's budget, given its position at the top of the smartphone totem, the company will undoubtedly be working to deliver the best possible experience. The South Korean tech giant wasn't the first to market with a folding phone either but arguably has the best current version of such a device available. That's with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
Current rumors have speculated that the new camera system and display, since it has only just been patented, won't appear in the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. But that the tech may make an appearance in the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 series. Or in the successor to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. But it may be more likely that Samsung will stick to its current release standards for new technology. Namely, releasing new features and technology in its Samsung Galaxy A-series before finalizing and bringing them to its flagship phones.
That's if the company decides to release something based on this patent's technology at all.