A new display technology has been developed promising what is, for some, the holy grail of smartphone design.
The development comes from the Chinese company Oppo, which has revealed a new under-display camera technology capable of delivering a virtually invisible selfie camera without the usual degradation in screen quality.
According to Oppo, the design combines new hardware innovations with improved AI-based software to deliver “an under-screen camera solution without compromise.”
The crucial word here is “compromise”: It’s notoriously difficult to build an under-display camera without compromising the quality of both the display and the camera, as previous attempts have shown.
New Screen Technology
In current implementations, the screen area directly above the camera typically offers a lower pixel resolution than the rest of the display.
Oppo’s new technology, however, promises to overcome this by populating this area with smaller rather than fewer pixels along with new, thinner wiring. Furthermore, details such as small fonts can be displayed more accurately thanks to new circuitry providing precise control over the brightness of individual pixels. Oppo claims this circuitry also extends the lifespan of the display by up to 50 percent.
New Image Processing Algorithms
Oppo also claims to have improved the quality of the camera itself through the use of new AI algorithms designed to reduce unwanted effects such as blur and image glare. In particular, the AI has been trained to reduce the effects of diffraction in order to deliver cleaner images.
Oppo has provided a few sample images and they show promising results, but it remains to be seen how well these new technologies will work in the hands of users.
Oppo has much to gain if the new camera can deliver the level of quality demanded by customers of high-end smartphones but, as we’ve seen before, any deviation from acceptable quality levels is sure to be exposed by benchmark tests such as Dxomark camera.
However, if the new camera really is as good as Oppo claims, other smartphones are going to start looking old very soon by comparison. There’s no news yet on when Oppo’s camera might appear in a production smartphone so, for now, all eyes are on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 which is expected to launch with an under-screen camera of its own.
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