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.
Under-display cameras are poised to be The Hot New Feature, following up on the similar success of the in-display fingerprint sensor. It almost seems like science fiction: You can't see the camera, but it can see you. The technology promises to eliminate the last impediment in the all-screen phone dream. But how does it work, and when will you actually be able to buy a phone that has one?
The latest tech trade show, MWC Shanghai, is just getting started and one of the first exhibitors is Chinese tech manufacturer Oppo. It didn't talk about a phone at its keynote — its Reno phones are getting some extended spotlight here — but it did bring us closer to the supposed holy grail of a full-body smartphone display by demonstrating an under-display selfie camera.