If smartphone makers really want to eradicate bezels without fitting their products with thick and complicated motorized selfie cameras, they’re going to have to figure out a way to put those lenses underneath displays. And it looks like that’s exactly what Oppo is about to do on June 26 at MWC Shanghai.
The Chinese phone maker published an image to social network Weibo in the run up to the event depicting a ring of light projecting upward, adjacent to another shape that strongly resembles a handset’s speaker grille. We’re pretty confident the company will show off either a prototype or a production device equipped with the breakthrough technology, because Oppo actually teased as much earlier this month on Twitter.
Often called the “holy grail” of phone design, the under-display front-facing camera is something nobody — not even Samsung or Apple — has been able to bring to market yet. However, Oppo and its sister firm Vivo have shown enthusiasm in previewing long-awaited, emerging features in concept devices, even in cases where customers won’t be able to actually get them in their hands for some time.
Oppo did as much with its periscope optical zoom lens, demonstrating what the technology would be capable of at trade shows months ahead of its eventual launch in its new Reno smartphone. And Vivo demoed optical in-display fingerprint sensors and motorized selfie cameras to the press about a full year before we actually began seeing both arrive in phones you could buy.
For that reason, we’re leaning toward Oppo’s under-display camera tech being more of a sneak peek at this stage, rather than tied to a final device. Still, it means manufacturers are pretty close to achieving something many enthusiasts have been waiting quite a while to see. In time, what Oppo’s pulled off here might kill the notch once and for all.