ZTE got the honor on Tuesday of unveiling the world’s first phone with an under-display camera. The Axon 20 5G doesn’t need a notch like the iPhone, nor Samsung’s unsightly hole-punch camera. It can take selfies right through the screen.
How an under-display camera functions
ZTE says it used a high transparency material that includes new organic and inorganic films to allow the camera to work behind the display. And software on the phone compensates for the screen materials.
Also, the phone includes an independent dual-control chip and integrated driver circuit to make the area over the front-facing leans match the rest of the display while also not interfering with the camera.
As if that weren’t enough, ZTE also put an in-screen fingerprint scanner in the Axon 20 5G. And it built in ambient light and sound sensors too.
The result is a 6.92-inch OLED display that’s not interrupted. At least, that’s the theory. ZTE has only released a handful of press images of this device, and no video. It’s not yet known how well this device stands up in real-world use.
Leading the way toward the end of the iPhone notch
Strong iPhone demand since Apple introduced the notch in 2017 shows that there are millions of people who don’t care about this screen cutout. But it’s unlikely there are many who’ll complain when Apple finds a way to eliminate it.
But the under-display camera ZTE used wouldn’t work for Apple because the notch includes more than just a front-facing camera. The 3D scanners used by Face ID facial recognition are in there too.
Whatever the eventual fate of the iPhone screen cutout, it’s apparently not changing this year. A leaked image of the iPhone 12 display hardware show the handset on the docket for autumn 2020 will still include a notch essentially identical to the one that debuted back with the iPhone X three years ago.