The front camera of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has been a point of contention, with some reports suggesting that Samsung could finally go with an under-display selfie cam and others saying it won't be ready in time. A newly discovered Samsung patent suggests that the latter might be the case, but there is a silver lining.
According to a series of patent images discovered by LetsGoDigital, Samsung has patented several designs for a "punch hole camera with status indicator." Based on the photos, this could allow Samsung to deliver various types of status bars that surround the front-facing camera to display the progress of a task at a glance.
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While the status indicator in the images is small, it could be handy for showing the progress of a download or be used to indicate how much time is left on a timer. Perhaps it could even be used for a hands-off selfie mode, letting you know just how much time you have to strike a pose before the camera goes off.
The patent images show a several versions of this status indicator, including one that wraps around the entire camera as well as vertical and horizontal progress bars. The photos depict how the feature could work on both centered punch-hole cameras (such as the Infinity-O lens on the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 10), as well as off-centered camera options.
It's not clear which (if any) of these camera types may end up on the Note 20, but if Samsung can't get an under-display camera ready in time for its next phablet, a front-facing status indicator could serve as a neat little upgrade for the Note series. Samsung has a history of providing extra info with secondary displays, with its older Note Edge devices offering quick access to apps and notifications on a curved side screen.
Of course, there's no guarantee that this patented tech will make its way to the Galaxy Note 20 or even next year's Samsung Galaxy S30. We're expecting Samsung to take the wraps off of the Note 20 (as well as the Galaxy Fold 2) this August, so we should have a clearer idea of the company's next phablet in the coming months.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.