Chinese smartphone manufacturers are contributing significantly to the development of the industry. ZTE has confirmed the launch of a first smartphone model with an under-display selfie camera. Initially, manufacturers needed to assign a thick upper bezel to accommodate the front-facing camera. Following the awkward-looking notch used by the iPhone X and XS, punch holes are now commonplace among Android smartphones. Punch holes do a great job to maximize the use of display real estate. ZTE will bring this one step further with the under-display selfie camera. It means that the selfie camera will no longer be a design impediment. A previous solution with pop-up camera was considered as an unnecessary risk factor, because it may reduce the overall reliability of the phone.
ZTE will launch the Axon 20 5G on 1 September as the first 5G smartphone with an under-display selfie camera. This will allow the 6.92-inch OLED display to have a clean appearance without any bezel or punch hole. In the past, Oppo has also shown as a prototype smartphone with the same technology. However, it turns out that ZTE is the first manufacturer that successfully mass produces such a device. Unfortunately, Oppo’s under-display solution was still less mature, because the part of the display with the camera below was still grainy. However, we still don’t know whether ZTE’s version of under-display technology will be acceptable. ZTE has also pioneered other technologies in the industry, such as the first smartphone with foldable dual-screen. ZTE’s other new technologies are 3D display and a pressure-sensitive display. As of now, none of ZTE’s technology took the smartphone market by storm. However, the under-display selfie camera is something that other smartphone makers, including Samsung and Apple, may follow. The design benefit of such technology is simply undeniable.
The largest smartphone brand in China, Huawei, is also working on the same technology. The company has confirmed that it is working on not only an under-display camera but also an all-screen fingerprint sensor. It means that users will be able to unlock the phone with their fingerprint at any part of the screen. It will be much easier for users to do authentication and unlock the smartphone. However, it is not known whether such implementation will noticeably increase the overall price of the device. As expected, Huawei won’t be the only to develop this technology. TCL has announced in June that it’s also working on whole-screen fingerprint technology. To allow for a screen-wide authentication, it means that manufacturers will need to put plenty of sensors below the display.
Without a doubt, smartphones will become increasingly more complicated. Manufacturers want to make their devices stand out and more enjoyable to use by consumers. Even so, Huawei has promised that it will try to reduce the overall costs of the sensors. It is also important to keep power utilization low, if not, all-screen fingerprint recognition will require too much energy to operate. Huawei will soon release the Mate 40, but it won’t have an under-screen camera and a full-screen fingerprint sensor. There’s no announcement from Huawei, but we can expect it to arrive in 2021.