Introduced by the Essential Phone before iPhone X made it mainstream, the ‘notch’ has been another stepping stone into achieving a completely bezel-less display. Notches on phones have become common practice. Recently, however, there have been pushes to avoid it for an edge-to-edge display.
While the iPhone has a big notch, some manufacturers took it to extreme levels. Notably, Google Pixel 3XL has arguably one of the biggest and ugliest notches of them all. On the other end of the spectrum, waterdrop notches on phones like the OnePlus 6T and the recently announced OnePlus 7 were welcomed. Samsung has also made inroads into achieving a bezel-less, notch-less display and has introduced categories like the Infinity-V displays (as seen in the Galaxy M series) and Infinity-O series (as seen in the Galaxy S10 series).
Samsung also has plans for a ‘New Infinity’ display which is completely bezel-less and notch-less. No news about upcoming devices with this display has been heard so far.
Chinese manufacturers like Oppo, Vivo, and also OnePlus have gone down another path by using a motorised pop-up mechanism for the front-facing camera. This technique has gone down well with users who appreciate the big screen without any bezels or extra cut-outs. However, it has its disadvantages. Having a motorised mechanism means moving parts on a smartphone. This makes the device susceptible to external damage. Moreover, you can’t get IP certification for water-proofing or dust protection on such a device. That’s why the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t come with IP-68 water and dust resistance. OnePlus does promise that it can survive accidental splashes but you shouldn’t go diving with your phone though.
Another notable mention is the Asus Zenfone 6. This phone was recently launched and it has a neat camera trick. The entire camera mechanism actually swivels around at the touch of a button and the rear camera turns into the front-facing camera. It’s just another way of circumventing around having the notch and having a full-screen phone and maxing out the screen to body ratio of the phone.
Videos posted by Chinese manufacturers Oppo and Xiaomi on their social media accounts hint at invisible cameras. These prototype devices show a camera under the display of the phone. This is a revolutionary breakthrough for companies as the phone manufacturing world has been seeking in-display cameras for quite a while. This tech works by actually turning off individual LEDs in front of the camera sensors. If you look at the video posted by Xiaomi very closely, you can see a camera under the display.
(Watch the video here: https://twitter.com/Xiaomi/status/1135447561202937857)
So, how will this work? Will the pictures be similar, if not better, to the current front-facing cameras we have on our phones? At this point, there are more questions than answers. We can only speculate and hope that this tech improves and we get better versions of it in the future.