Oppo aims for quality balance with latest under-screen camera prototype
Last year, China's ZTE launched the Axon 20 5G, the first smartphone to feature a selfie camera hidden under the display. Oppo has also been working on under-screen cameras for a while, and has revealed its latest prototype.
Giving users more display real estate without comprising functionality has seen front-facing cameras go from being at home in the bezel to a notch to a punch-hole to pop-up designs and so on. More recently, efforts are being made to hide the camera away altogether by placing it beneath the screen – with decidedly mixed results. Oppo has announced its third attempt, which the company says "delivers the perfect balance between screen and camera quality."
Where previous versions reduced pixel density in the area of the display to let light through to the camera module, which impacted on screen quality, Oppo's latest solution involves reducing the size of each pixel in the area while retaining the same pixel count, "to ensure a 400-PPI high-quality display even in the camera area."
The company also says that instead of employing one pixel circuit to drive two pixels, its proprietary screen technology uses a 1:1 setup, which is reckoned to improve display accuracy, color and brightness when combined with compensation algorithms. And traditional display wiring has been replaced with a transparent variant, while wiring width has been slimmed down by 50 percent.
AI algorithms have also been developed to counter some of the negative aspects involved in placing a camera module under a smartphone's screen, such as blur and glare, and they've trained on thousands of images to mitigate light-diffraction issues for the promise of "clearer, more natural-looking images." Oppo has even supplied a sample image taken with the under-screen camera of the prototype smartphone so you can judge the advance for yourself.
Alas, no plans to include this technology in a consumer phone have been announced, the company only confirming that work to further optimize the technology continues.