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Google Pixel camera phone to come with under-screen camera?

Google Pixel
(Image credit: Technizo Concept x LetsGoDigital)

A new Google Pixel patent shows that the camera phone manufacturer is currently working on an under-screen camera design. We're not surprised to see Google explore this concept, as most smartphone manufacturers have been investing in reducing the edges of handset displays over recent years. 

In fact, most camera phones currently available tend to feature edge-to-edge displays. However, the one bugbear that many phone manufacturers have been attempting to overcome is the selfie camera notch or punch-hole that mars the top of the display.

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In mid-September 2020, Google LLC filed for a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Recently released on 06 May 2021, this patent shows a Google Pixel handset with a front camera housed underneath the OLED display. To make this possible, there has been an extra OLED display panel integrated into the design with the same pixel density.

As reported by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), this sub-display second screen is placed directly opposite the camera and below the main screen. There is a prism or mirror placed between the camera and the auxiliary display. Then, when the camera is not in use, the content displayed on the sub-display second screen is reflected through the prism on the main display. When the camera is activated the prism rotates in such a way that the incoming light can be collected. 

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Some have thought that we could see this under-screen technology in the upcoming Google Pixel 6 (due to be released in the second half of 2021). However, LetsGoDigital advises that it's more likely that we'll have to wait until the Google Pixel 7 in 2022 until we see this new selfie camera design. 

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With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.