Fingerprint readers were pushed to the back by shrinking bezels but may return to the front, except they’ll live below the screen. You can’t put a selfie camera on the back, however, which resulted in notches on some phones – like the iPhone X and the Essential Phone. But can cameras join the fingerprint reader and live below the screen too?
A Samsung patent shows such a device. It goes a step further and moves everything under the surface – including the earpiece, the proximity and ambient light sensors. The Xiaomi Mi Mix (an early mover in the bezel-less game) already had an earpiece below the screen but it didn’t sound great.
The Mix also put the selfie camera on the bottom, not our favorite position. This patent shows a traditional placement along the top of the phone, but if the camera can see through the screen, it can (in theory) be placed anywhere. That would solve an awkward thing about video calls – you either look in the person’s eyes or at the camera, neither a great choice.
Anyway, the problem is that no one has built such a camera yet. An early patent (referenced by Samsung, Apple, LG and others) suggests using a transparent OLED. With a high refresh rate, the device could flick the screen on and off and allow the camera to have a look during the inactive periods.
wow I was just thinking about this, and searched and found it. I guess this is a good idea, but there are few down sides. with the camera placed behind the screen we won't be able to use temperared glasses anymore as it reduces quality of the selfies...
Camera lenses usually only get touched and poked by mistake, if a cam was literally behind your screen though it's easy to imagine you having touched the upper part of the screen and caused smudging etc. that ruins a good shot.
Essential did it better than iPhone though. We've already seen behind the screen earpiece on Xiaomi Mi Mix as well.