In early September of last year, ZTE released the Axon 20 5G, the world’s first phone featuring an under-display camera (image above). Aside from that “global first,” the phone wasn’t really noteworthy. It was a mid-range phone with a price tag of roughly $320, and it wasn’t something that would be widely available.
Smartphone manufacturers have made significant progress in developing under-display cameras, with rumors circulating that Samsung is about to release its first such smartphone. Samsung has already unveiled an Under Panel Camera (UPC) screen for laptops and other mobile devices, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is expected to include one.
The Fold 3 may not be the only premium phone with a UPC selfie camera. Xiaomi is expected to release its first smartphone with a camera built into the display later this year. However, it’s unclear whether it’ll be able to beat Samsung to the market.
Samsung’s UPC technology is quite advanced in terms of image quality, according to a reliable leaker. Assuring that adequate light reaches the selfie sensor situated under a phone’s OLED display has been the most difficult component of UPC screen designs.
Xiaomi showed out a prototype of an under-display camera a few years ago, demonstrating that the technology existed to build such a phone. It did not release a commercial version of it, though.
Although the light transmittance is high, which is close to the experience of ordinary cameras, its UPC appearance is not perfect. It looks like mosaic. You should know which phone I’m talking about.Ice universe | @UniverseIce
The same leaker who claims the Fold 3 will have a UPC screen also claimed earlier this year that Xiaomi would release a premium phone with the similar display. Other Chinese smartphone manufacturers, such as Oppo, Vivo, and ZTE, may release new smartphones featuring under-display camera technology later this year. According to a prior revelation by the same Samsung leaker, Ice Universe, this is the case.
Based on another rumor, Xiaomi has developed its third-generation under-display camera technology, which it plans to implement in two handsets later this year. Xiaomi is said to have created an under-panel camera that blends in with the conventional screen. The pixel layout is also said to allow more light to travel through the display to the sensor. These characteristics, however, have yet to be proven.
A new Chinese rumor suggests that a Xiaomi flagship codenamed M2106118C will be released later this year with under-display camera technology and UWB support, which is already available on iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and Galaxy S21 models.
But the leaker did not specify which Xiaomi phone would include the under-display camera. Xiaomi just unveiled the Mi 11 Ultra and Mi Mix Fold, two new flagship phones. The next-generation Xiaomi Mi T model could be a contender. The Xiaomi Mi 11T is expected to go on sale this fall.
According to recent reports, the Fold 3 will be revealed in early August.