We’ve been hearing about under-screen cameras ever since both Xiaomi and Oppo showed off their individual prototypes last year. Rumors also point to the upcoming Nokia flagship incorporating the notch-killer selfie camera design. However, the tech still remains elusive and has not seen a commercial launch.
Now, a new patent possibly gives us our first look at what Xiaomi’s under-screen camera phone could look like.
Discovered by LetsGoDigital, the approved design patent details a phone with a flat screen and thin edges, much like the Xiaomi Mi 9 from last year. It doesn’t adopt the curved edge look we’ve seen on the latest Mi 10 flagships. Check out the featured image above (courtesy of LetsGoDigital and ConceptCreator) and the patent image below for a better idea.
The top edge of the phone houses the call receiver. Meanwhile, the under-screen camera could be placed on the top left or the middle (see patent diagram above).
According to the patent, when the selfie snapper is in use, the screen area becomes transparent, showing the lens underneath. When it’s not in use, the display goes back to normal and allows for a full-screen experience, much like what you get on phones with pop-up cameras.
Elsewhere, a vertically aligned triple camera setup is seen on the back panel of the phone. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if and when Xiaomi makes an under-screen camera phone, it’ll have to house three rear cameras. Xiaomi already uses a quad camera setup on the Mi 10 and could possibly stick to a similar setup on a new flagship. Then again, it could also debut this new design on a mid-range phone with three cameras.
As is the deal with most patents, the Xiaomi phone described herein might not result in a real product. Remember, it wasn’t long ago that Redmi GM Lu Weibing said that under-screen camera technology isn’t ready for commercialization.
The executive explained that current smartphone displays significantly reduce the light that reaches under-screen cameras, thereby adversely affecting image quality.
Unless Xiaomi has made significant improvements to the tech in the past few month, we doubt we’ll under-screen cameras on Xiaomi or Redmi phones anytime soon.