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For a long while now, smartphone manufacturers have been looking for a way to make our phones slimmer and sleekier. There has been only one thing that has proved impossible to wrestle - DISPLAY.
The display is urarguably the most important part of a smartphone's design, it's the part of your smartphone where you spend most of your time.
Recently, there have been chatters of smartphones with under-display selfie cameras launching soon with Xiaomi not left out.
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The under-display camera solution will likely solve a lot of problems for smartphone manufacturers and 2021 seems like the year when it goes mainstream.
But how did it start? How did we get here? What problems are manufacturers trying to solve?
Let's go back to all how it all started for selfie cameras and how manufacturers have handled them in the past.
TOP BEZEL SELFIE CAMERAS
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This was how it all started for smartphone selfie cameras, they were placed at the top bezel of the phone along with the sensors and earpiece. The buttons were usually at the bottom of the phone, in another large real estate of bezel.
We had no issues with this design until the craze for slim and sleek smartphones began, manufacturers started trying to get rid of bezels as much as they could, then they started moving the selfie camera in a bid to get as much screen real estate as possible.
BOTTOM BEZEL SELFIE CAMERAS
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The Xiaomi Mi Mix smartphone was the first bold step by any manufacturer towards solving the need for full screen displays. Xiaomi moved the selfie camera to the bottom chin of the phone, they were also able to remove the proximity sensors and earpiece, replacing them with under-display modern technolgies.
(To read my previous article on this device, click here.)
This device solved one issue and created another.
While it gave us a phone with a larger screen-to-body ratio, it also gave us a selfie camera with smudges and smears. The positioning of the selfie camera meant it was constantly in contact with palms when the phone is in use and of course it wasn't long before users had to start cleaning smudges whenever they want to use their selfie cameras.
So manufacturers had to get back to the drawing board, again.
NOTCH SELFIE CAMERAS
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When we arrived here, everybody heaved a sigh of relief.
The selfie camera was back at the top, but this time it was housed in a large cut-out of the screen called the "NOTCH".
Everything seemed fine except for one thing, the large cut-out took the space of notifications and system icons, which many users didn't like.
So the manufacturers brought out various variations of the notch before eventually settling for this.
DEW DROP NOTCH SELFIE CAMERAS
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Another sigh of relief...
This seemed like it, everything was perfect now or so it seemed.
Full screen displays was the goal, and even though the dew drop seemed perfect, it wasn't a perfect full screen.
Manufacturers didn't dwell much on it, they quickly moved on to something fancier and more perfect.
POP-UP SELFIE CAMERAS
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These were the first "perfect" full-screen devices. The selfie camera was moved into a mechanism that popped up whenever the selfie camera was opened.
It was just so innovative, some manufacturers equipped theirs with anti-fall capabilities that enabled the pop-up camera to close if it sensed the smartphone falling, that way the pop-up mechanism isn't damaged by heavy falls.
It still left some problems for the manufacturers.
And sadly, the manufacturers were back to placing the selfie camera in the screen albeit with more "swag".
PUNCH HOLE SELFIE CAMERAS
This was the sign that under-display cameras were somewhere around the corner and the prospects were exciting.
Punch-hole camera was the "thing" for 2020 flagships, and there are now real signs that some 2021 flagships will launch with under-display cameras.
One of such signs is coming from Xiaomi, who are one of the most innovative smartphone companies in the last five years. Some weeks back, they posted this video of a fully working smartphone with an under-display camera.
The under-display selfie camera will definitely solve all the issues the other solutions above had, and we'll have a "true" full screen device.
If it doesn't come with some other issues of its own, it should stay around for a long time and slowly make its way to the midrange and budget smartphones.
What are your thoughts about this under-display selfie camera? Do you think it will be worth the hype around it?
Do let me know what you think by dropping a comment below.
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