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Oppo reveals first smartphone with under display selfie camera

Image credit: oppo

The first smartphone sporting an under-screen selfie camera has been unveiled by Chinese smartphone maker Oppo at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai.

The technology allows manufacturers to make a device entirely dominated by screen real estate while avoiding some of the more fragile alternatives such as having the camera pop out from the top.

Since the release of the iPhone X in 2017, which aimed for a full screen display but featured a chunky notch adorning the top edge, smartphone makers have been trying to eliminate everything from the front of their devices other than the screen itself.

With notches getting progressively smaller over the following year, Apple’s follow up device, the iPhone XS, was already starting to look old hat. But smartphone manufacturers had still failed to crack the issue entirely, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 for example featured a hole punch design for the front facing camera.

Oppo’s latest unveiling (which is just a prototype at this stage) sees the firm cracking the under display tech with a few first generation teething problems. It explained that it uses an enhanced translucent panel material combined with advanced processing algorithms to take photos on the unnamed device.

“The algorithms behind our USC technology showcased at #MWC19 include haze removal, HDR and white balance resulting in a bezel-less phone, yet with a selfie camera that rivals current smartphones in the market today,” the company tweeted.

The area of the screen covering the camera has a more grainy look than the rest of the display which is clear from press shots taken by Engadget

Other attempts to increase smartphone display space include the foldable smartphone, of which Samsung and Huawei have both unveiled devices, though both have been delayed. Samsung held back its Galaxy Fold after some early reviewers reported issues with the phone’s screen, while Huawei has pushed the launch of its first foldable smartphone to carry out additional tests.

Oppo is not alone in going for an under-display set-up - fellow Chinese smartphone builder Xiaomi showed off its own take on the concept earlier this month, too.

Neither company have indicated when they would make the technology available to market, though reports claim Oppo will make it available in the near future.

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