The patent is for an innovative under-display camera system that could allow phones beyond the Pixel 8 series to have an edge over rival iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices. The patent describes a dual-sensor camera placed under the display that uses light-blocking layers to improve image quality. One sensor focuses on color fidelity and the other on sharpness and details.
By blending the output and using advanced processing, Google aims to overcome the image quality challenges of under-display cameras. This technology could potentially allow Pixel phones to maximize display real estate with a true full-screen design, something the notch and hole-punch designs of the best iPhones and most of the best Samsung phones respectively cannot achieve.
While not expected for the upcoming Google Pixel 8, if successfully implemented, Google's under-display camera could give Pixel phones a distinctive advantage over Apple and Samsung flagships down the road with the Pixel 9 and beyond.
The patent signals Google's intention to continue to develop cutting-edge camera technologies to compete with, if not surpass, the camera capabilities of its major rivals.
Under-display cameras up until now
As bezels have got thinner, manufacturers have been battling with how to integrate a selfie camera into the main displays. Most manufacturers of Android devices have settled on a hole punch design and iPhone introduced the Dynamic Island last year.
Under-display selfie cameras have been introduced in other high-end devices though, such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra, and Redmagic 8S Pro, which are all flagship smartphones released in 2023 that feature under-display selfie cameras.
However, although the viewing experience is better, the selfie cameras often struggle to compete with the best, often adding a blurred layer to images that are taken. As a result, the under-screen camera often feels like a sacrifice for a better viewing experience.
Here's hoping that future Pixel phones can deliver under-display cameras that deliver great image quality along with a full-screen look.
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Elliot MulleyGoodbarne is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide covering news, reviews, buying guides with wit and charm. He has had a keen interest in mobile, tablets, laptops, and everything in between since his first phone, the Samsung U600. Starting at Mobile News, Elliot has been writing about mobile and the business of technology since 2016, and has edited four trade magazines in that time, attending award shows for three of them. He has attended a range of industry events including 5G launches, device announcements, and trade events, where he developed a nose for picking up on trends, interviewing executives, and networking with the tech community. In his spare time, Elliot can usually be found watching, playing, or attending sporting events. With season tickets to West Ham United and Surrey County Cricket Club he often spends weekends in winter in a foul mood and evenings in the summer with a smile on his face. Outside of sport Elliot enjoys cooking, pubs next to rivers, and chilling out with a G&T, Whiskey, or Port after a solid week of excellence.