The fight over notches is quickly becoming a thing of the past, with companies like Oppo and Xiaomi already working on transparent display cameras that hide the sensor beneath the screen — no notch required. Today, Xiaomi senior vice president Wang Xiang tweeted a series of slides that explained more about how the feature actually works, via DPReview.
For Xiaomi’s implementation of the feature, the camera is embedded in the top of the device, as usual. But instead of putting a border around it (a notch) or cutting a hole in the screen (a hole-punch display), the camera is covered with a “special-low-reflective glass with high transmittance.”
Xiaomi says the setup allows the area of the display to become transparent to take pictures, and the transparent display then cleverly doubles as the camera lens on top.
Xiaomi also notes that by not trying to make the camera (and, therefore, the inevitable notch) as small as possible, the transparent display system allows for a larger sensor and better image quality than its existing teardrop notches.
It doesn’t appear to be a perfect system yet: in Xiaomi’s slides, you can still see a faint outline of the camera lens underneath the active display, but it’s at least a useable area of the screen instead of one that’s obscured entirely by a monolithic notch on top. Compared to other notch-less solutions, like pop-up lenses or flipping cameras, there are no mechanically moving parts to worry about here.
All we need now is a phone that actually uses the new camera. All Xiaomi is saying for now is that it’s “currently exploring the possibility.” Although knowing the company’s love for experimental smartphones that push new form factors and technology, hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.