Samsung’s working on an invisible camera that hides behind a phone’s screen

Samsung Galaxy s10 plus hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung’s Infinity-O screen technology, where the selfie camera is hidden in a single or double hole in the corner of the display, is the current best alternative to a distracting and unattractive notch. However, Samsung is not absolutely satisfied with the way it looks, and is still pushing toward a true full-screen experience without compromise.

Yang Byung-duk, vice president of Samsung’s mobile communication R&D group, said in a briefing that over the next couple of years, screen technology will move on to the point “where the camera hole will be invisible, while not affecting the camera’s function in any way.” It’s this that Samsung sees as the next major advancement, before it’s possible to make a full-screen smartphone. Exactly what it means by invisible isn’t clear; but we can speculate that it will sit behind the screen itself, which will then alter its characteristics to let the camera “see” to take photos.

The placement of the camera isn’t the only barrier in making a full-screen smartphone, there’s also the speaker to consider. The LG G8 ThinQ has a Crystal Sound OLED screen which doubles as the speaker system, but the phone still has a notch for the camera system and other sensors, but the technology lends itself perfectly to a full-screen phone. Yang also said Samsung is investigating similar technology, where the screen performs as a speaker too. It has talked before about prototypes of this technology, which it called Sound on Display.

Samsung says its goal, using the above tech and more, is to make a smartphone where all the sensors are hidden away under the screen. However, this lofty goal won’t happen overnight, or even in the very near future. It will be at least two or more years before we see a device like this, Yang said. In the meantime, we should expect to see an example of an “invisible” camera hole. Samsung may be talking about the tech, but it’s unlikely to be the only manufacturer working on it.

The Galaxy S10 is the only smartphone with a hole-punch camera in an OLED screen, but it was Honor that launched the first phone with a hole-punch screen — the Honor View 20 in 2018 — only in an LCD panel. Honor made a point of highlighting the technical challenges that had to be overcome before it was ready for sale. The resulting cutout is smaller than Samsung’s, and placed in the opposite corner. It’s highly likely Honor is also examining ways to hide the hole-punch even more.

By talking about what it’s working on, Samsung has confirmed that screen technology — whether it’s hole-punch cutouts, folding smartphones, or invisible camera holes — is driving some of the largest advancements in smartphone design we’ve seen in several years.

Home Theater

Samsung’s quantum OLED plans could mean better, cheaper OLED TVs for all

If you love the way OLED TVs look but have always been put off by the price, Samsung mat be creating a turning point. Samsung is reportedly planning to make QD-OLED TVs, marrying QLED and OLED into a single, power-packed display.
Product Review

Motorola One Action hands-on review

Motorola’s latest phone is called the Motorola One Action, and it wants to end vertical videos once and for all. The unique action camera lets you film in portrait orientation, yet still captures landscape footage.

Sony’s Xperia 1 is the first smartphone with a 4K OLED display

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

It has LTE and a voice assistant, but the DokiPal kid’s smartwatch is a disaster

The DokiPal smartwatch for kids is a feature-packed wearable that allows you to track and stay in touch with your children. It boasts support for LTE, video calls, and has its own voice assistant, but it's expensive and we had issues.
Product Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Review in progress

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus is here, and it’s the biggest and best Samsung phone ever. Its key feature is its looks, as it has an attractive rear design, highlighted by the new Aura Glow color, but little else has changed.

Fitbit Versa 2 will reportedly roll out September 15 with OLED display, Alexa

Leaked images confirm that the Fitbit Versa 2 will come with an OLED display and Alexa integration, with more than four days of battery life. A source claims that the Fitbit Versa successor will be released on September 15.
Social Media

Twitter’s latest effort to tackle abusive content focuses on Direct Messages

Twitter launched a new feature designed to filter out abusive Direct Messages from people you don't follow. The content is collected in one place and can still be viewed if you want to periodically check what's coming in.

3 to beam up: Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo collaborate on new file transfer feature

Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are working together on a new device-to-device file transfer feature for Android. The unnamed feature will be used instead of Android Beam when it's retired from Android in the near future.

Nokia 7.2 case renders reveal a round triple-lens camera design

According to the latest rumors, we can expect the Nokia 7.2 to be a phone with a large screen over 6 inches and a triple-camera system. Here's all the news and rumors about the Nokia 7.2.

MediaTek and Huawei’s partnership may mean cheap 5G phones in early 2020

Huawei has reportedly made a deal with MediaTek to use its new 5G SoC in a low-cost 5G smartphone expected to launch in early 2020. MediaTek launched the 5G SoC in May, and indicated the first phones to use it would come next year.

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to get your Android phone into recovery mode.

Huawei gets another short reprieve from ban, but the future doesn’t look hopeful

Huawei has been given another 90-day extension to the Temporary General License, which holds off the ban imposed on it by the U.S. government in May, meaning it’s allowed to continue trading with U.S. companies for now.

Miami public transportation is getting Google Pay — and it could save you money

Google and the Miami-Dade Transit public transportation system have announced that the system will now support Google Pay -- meaning you can tap to pay at turnstiles, instead of having to buy a ticket for each ride.

Google was sharing Android user location data with carriers worldwide

Google quietly ended a service providing cell carriers with location data from customers. The service provided user data from Android devices on any carrier. Data was aggregated and anonymous, and carrier names weren't disclosed.