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First smartphone with under-display selfie camera to launch next month

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Chinese smartphone maker ZTE has announced plans to launch the world’s first smartphone featuring an under-display selfie camera.

One of the most prominent smartphone trends in the last few years has been attempts to expand the screen to the furthest reaches of the device and eliminate the outer bezel entirely.

The selfie camera, however, has always proved to be an awkward impediment in this goal, with most manufacturers making do with either a 'punch hole' selfie camera that can interrupt content on the display or a (breakable) pop-out camera that rises out of the top of the device.

ZTE said its new Axon 20 5G handset - set to be launched on 1 September - will be the “first mass-produced 5G smartphone featuring under-display camera”.

The device is expected to have a 6.92" OLED display with none of the blemishes found on rival devices that are needed to make way for the selfie camera. Such display trickery has been demonstrated in the past, with Oppo unveiling an under-screen camera device last year in prototype form (pictured below).

Unfortunately, that device exhibited a grainy texture over the part of the screen that housed the camera, which somewhat negated the supposed aesthetic appeal of eliminating the compromises associated with selfie cameras.

Whether ZTE has overcome that hurdle won’t be known until the Axon 20 5G is officially revealed in September, but the firm was keen to point out that it has “achieved numerous breakthroughs in the field of smartphone displays” in the past.

This includes launching the world's first pressure-sensitive display; the world's first naked-eye 3D display smartphone, as well as the world's first foldable dual-screen smartphone.

Notably, none of these features have taken the smartphone world by storm as yet, although the utility of a truly hidden selfie camera is undeniable as the final piece in a full-screen display puzzle that manufacturers have slowly been solving over the last few years.

Foreign governments have shown some wariness towards ZTE due to the possible influence that the Chinese State could exert over the firm, as is also the case with Huawei.

Last week, India said it was considering banning both Huawei and ZTE from taking part in its plans to expand 5G coverage across the country.

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