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This might be the first Samsung phone with a camera under the display

Published Nov 20th, 2020 7:50AM EST
Image: Samsung

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  • Samsung has reportedly decided to introduce a phone with an under-display camera next year.
  • Korean media says the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be the first Samsung handset to get the technology.
  • Samsung will develop both the screen and camera sensor in house, and it’s working on software algorithms to improve under-display camera photography.

Smartphone vendors have been toying with under-display cameras (UDC) for a few years, and the first such handset arrived earlier this year. But the ZTE Azon 20 5G might not be the UDC phone people want to buy if it’s even available for purchase in western markets. None of the top Android handset vendors have launched phones with cameras under the screen. Most of them chose instead the next best thing, the hole-punch camera screen design that Samsung pioneered. But things might change next year, as more vendors might consider introducing phones with perfect display designs. Samsung, which happens to make some of the best screens in the industry, is one of them, and a report from Korea says the company’s first UDC handset will be of the foldable variety.

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According to ETNews, Samsung plans to place a camera under the foldable screen of the Z Fold 3. Samsung Display will manufacture the screen, while Samsung Electronics System LSI will build the image sensor for the camera.

The first Galaxy Fold model had an annoying side-notch that ruined what could have been a perfect foldable screen. The notch turned out to be the least of Samsung’s worries about the original Fold, as the handset featured a few screen durability issues that forced Samsung to delay the phone’s launch.

The second-gen Galaxy Z Fold 2 corrected the Fold’s problems and lost the notch in the process. But the phone’s main display still features a hole-punch camera that’s placed in a rather strange position when it comes to symmetry.

Come next year, the Z Fold 3 might have a UDC shooter if Samsung’s plans happen to work out. Samsung reportedly wants to make a special type of display that would allow enough light to reach the camera sensor and prevent distortion. Aside from the camera and display hardware, Samsung is also working on algorithms that could be used to correct photos.

The report notes that Fold 3 is expected to be the first phone that will make use of UDC technology. Samsung will likely bring the tech to other flagships once it’s mature enough. Starting its UDC endeavor with the next high-end foldable makes sense, considering that the Fold phones aren’t exactly mainstream devices. They’re more expensive, and therefore more limited. In other words, the expensive Fold is exactly the kind of phone that should be used to launch a technology that might not be cheap to mass-produce.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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