Samsung's newest Galaxy Z Fold3 is official now, and one of the smallest changes you'll notice is that the gigantic 7.6" inner display no longer has a punch hole for the front-facing camera. Samsung has "hidden" it under the display, though that's not really the accurate verb here. The camera element is still very noticeable, both when using the light and dark themes.
Normally, we skip covering patents here at Android Police. Most of them never materialize in a product and "what if" games are just conjecture. However, a recently published patent application by Google has caught our eye for the unique and slightly ridiculous way it aims to hide a camera beneath a smartphone display. When was the last time you saw a magic show?
The world's first commercially available smartphone with an under-display camera is now on sale. The ZTE Axon 20 5G, announced back in September, costs €449/£419/$449 and comes in black. Aside from the fancy camera/display tech, the phone's specs put it in the upper mid-range segment — it's powered by a Snapdragon 765G chip and offers 30W fast charging.
Although we've seen plenty of concepts and prototypes over the last year or so, ZTE is now technically "first" to reveal a phone with an under-display camera. That's right, the Axon 20 5G has no notch, no camera cutout, and almost no bezel. The front-facing camera can work right through the screen.
Chinese telecom gear manufacturer ZTE hasn’t had a particularly good run in the US smartphone market. But every once in a while, its eccentric phones manage to catch our eye, and frankly, they don't give us much to complain about. ZTE is now coming out with a handset that uses an under-display selfie camera — a first for any mass-produced phone on the market. The Axon 20 5G, succeeding last year’s Axon 10 Pro 5G, is set to debut as soon as early next month.
Vivo has built a habit of announcing concepts with the most outlandish hardware that it wants to add to its regular lineup in the future. Its 2018 phone was one of the first in the industry to have a pop-up front lens and virtually no screen bezels while the 2019 release fully did away with regular ports and a selfie camera to eliminate points of failure and maximize the screen size even further. The Vivo APEX 2020 continues this trend, but it has received a front camera again in the form of an in-display solution and has stepped up the wireless charging game to 60W.
Front-facing cameras that are able to see through smartphone display panels were theorized long before we thought it even possible to produce them and some see them as something of a holy grail in the oh-so-noble fight against bezels. Recent teases from Xiaomi and Oppo would lead us to believe the technology could make it into a consumer product sooner rather than later, and now I've had a chance to see what stage it's currently at. It's not ready quite yet, but it shouldn't be too far out now.