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Samsung is working on ‘perfect full-screen’ devices with selfie cameras under the display

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The S10’s hole-punch display is just the start

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Samsung is working on making the entire front of its phones a screen, with no need for bezels or a camera cutout of any kind. Yonhap News Agency reports that the company’s vice president of its display R&D group, Yang Byung-duk, said that “though it wouldn’t be possible to make (a full-screen smartphone) in the next 1-2 years, the technology can move forward to the point where the camera hole will be invisible, while not affecting the camera’s function in any way.”

The comments come less than a month after Samsung announced its latest flagship, the Galaxy S10, which is the company’s first phone to have a “hole-punch” cut out from its display for the selfie camera. Yang called the S10’s Infinity-O display a “milestone” for the company, but suggested that Samsung eventually plans to place the selfie camera under the display itself, removing the need for any cut out or pop-up mechanism.

This isn’t the first time Samsung has spoken about its plans to produce an all-display device. In a presentation given in October last year, the company said it was working on four interrelated technologies to maximise screen sizes; under-display fingerprint scanners, under panel camera sensors, haptic display technologies, and in-display speakers (similar to the LG G8’s vibrating OLED screen).

Despite Samsung’s ambition, it’s become a rarity for the company to be first to market with new technologies such as these. Multiple Chinese-made phones included in-display fingerprint sensors before the feature made its way to Samsung’s flagship, and Honor’s View 20 was the first phone to feature a hole-punch display (although, as Yang notes, the S10 was the first to do it with an OLED panel). Vivo and other Chinese handsets have also produced full-screen devices by moving the cameras around back (and adding a rear display), adopting slider designs, or by creating pop-up mechanisms that hide the selfie camera inside the phone.

Yang doesn’t give any further details on when Samsung’s “perfect full-screen” phone might be ready, except to say it won’t be ready within the next one or two years. Whether that means they’ll be ready in three or thirty years is anyone’s guess.