Although the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 is expected to retain a punch-hole camera, there are mumblings that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will feature an under-display front shooter. Let’s Go Digital has come across a patent that also indicates the tech will be ready for commercialization this year.

Titled ‘Display Device,’ the patent was filed by Samsung Display in May last year with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and the documentation was published on December 31.
Samsung’s implementation looks similar to what we have seen from Xiaomi and Oppo. To jog your memory, these companies have only shown prototypes. 

Back to the Samsung patent, it mentions a handset with two display parts: one that’s part of the main screen and one that has a higher light transmission to allow light to reach the camera sensor. The resolution of the secondary display will be lower than that of the primary unit and the two parts will be seemingly integrated. 

That is not the case with the prototype units that have been demoed so far and even the ZTE Axon 20 5G, which is now on sale, has a visible camera area. Aesthetics are far from the only problem standing in the way of commercialization. Under-panel sensors are prone to light transmission problems and this could impact image quality. Back in September 2020, leaker Ice Universe said that Samsung’s tech is ahead of other solutions.

The patent says the second part can occupy the entire width of the top part of the display or it can be placed in one of the two corners. The front camera, flash, and an infrared sensor will sit behind this part. The infrared unit could be used for improving image quality and facial recognition. 

The publication also notes that the patent makes a reference to a 2016 patent, which is further evidence that Samsung has been working on under-display camera technology for a long time. 

The documentation is also a lot more detailed, which means the chaebol has made significant strides in the last few years. It also suggests that the work is at an advanced stage.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 might not be the first Samsung phone with an under panel camera

Although concept renders seen recently envision a foldable handset with an under panel camera, Let’s Go Digital doesn’t think the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will actually adopt it. This makes total sense, given that bendable smartphones are quite complicated, and Samsung is already planning to extend S Pen integration to the Z Fold 3. 
The Galaxy Note 21 could be a candidate, speculatively speaking. Otherwise, we may see Samsung’s under-display camera on a Galaxy A series smartphone first.

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