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Xiaomi: 2021 will bring smartphones with cameras under the display

Notch, Punchhole and co. are now commonplace for smartphones that want to use thin display bezels. But as stylish and futuristic as the recess in the first iPhone X pictures three years ago may have seemed, many people now find it annoying and boring. Xiaomi is now taking a revolutionary step. Next year, the manufacturer wants to launch its first smartphones with an under-display camera.

The development time has paid off

Many manufacturers try to do without a cutout for the front camera. OnePlus, for example, relies on a retractable camera. Asus also does without a notch or similar. Here the main camera is simply changed in its orientation thanks to the built-in motor and converted to a front camera. But Xiaomi is not satisfied with these “half-baked” solutions. Instead, the Chinese company has simply hidden the camera under the display. We have known since the beginning of the year that Xiaomi is working on a corresponding technology. In January 2020, the company explained to us how a corresponding under-display camera would work. However, it quickly became clear to the public that the company would have to contend with many difficulties during development. But now Xiaomi seems to have made great progress. Otherwise, they would not announce corresponding smartphones for the coming year.

Problems during development

But why is it so complicated to hide a camera under the display? First and foremost, the pixel density of the screen and the light required for the camera are in each other’s way. For a camera to work, light must penetrate it. However, this is difficult to achieve if the display with many pixels prevents light from entering. Conversely, one would have had to live with very poor image quality. Only an extremely low pixel density would have solved the problem. With a poorly resolved display, however, you don’t want to hold a smartphone in your hands these days. Accordingly, Xiaomi and other developers like ZTE have worked on a way to adjust the pixels accordingly. Xiaomi has now achieved a breakthrough in this area.

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Self-developed pixel arrangement

The key to the Chinese company’s success was an adapted pixel arrangement. This creates a kind of gap between the pixels. Through these gaps, light can reach the camera. Conversely, the manufacturer maintains the pixel density and hides a high-quality front camera under the display. Xiaomi puts a lot of pressure on the competition. We are already curious to see how the camera will perform in practice. A display without any cutout definitely looks cool!

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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