Xiaomi intends to begin mass production of smartphones equipped with its under-display camera technology next year, the company announced today. This is technically the third generation of technology Xiaomi has developed, although the first and second versions it produced have not yet found their way into a mass-market consumer device.
According to Xiaomi, the latest version of the technology allows the selfie camera to see through the gaps in the display's sub-pixels, which are the red, green and blue dots that together make up each pixel. According to Xiaomi, the area of the display above the camera has the same pixel density as the rest of the screen, so that the selfie camera below can be "perfectly disguised". It adds that the selfie camera itself should match the performance of more typical front-facing cameras.
A diagram from Xiaomi shows how the new under-display technology compares to other versions.
Although the screen area above the camera should match the “brightness, color gamut and color accuracy” of the rest of the display, Xiaomi's blog post does not mention whether the panel itself is OLED or LCD, or what resolution we can expect it to be.
Smartphone manufacturers have been teasing under-display cameras for a while, but until now the technology has yet to be properly commercialized. Xiaomi and Oppo introduced the technology back in June last year, and Oppo showed a working prototype at MWC Shanghai this month. However, Engadget reported at this point that the effect was not perfect and that the area of the screen above the camera appeared more pixelated than the rest of the screen. Vivo had also planned to demonstrate the technology on a concept phone at MWC this year before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus.
However, Xiaomi may not be the first smartphone maker to bring the technology to a device for the mass market. Earlier this month, ZTE announced that it would launch a smartphone with an under-display camera called the ZTE Axon 20 5G on September 1st. However, it is currently unclear whether the device will be launched outside of China.