The obsession in achieving a true 100% screen to body ratio on smartphones by manufacturers is amazing. And the front camera is the biggest challenge that stands in between this dream. We have already seen technologies such as a punch-hole camera, pop-up camera, and even a rotating camera to maximize the screen real estate on smartphones. However, future implementations are going to be even more exciting with the front camera going under the display.

Galaxy A8S was the first Infinity-O punch-hole camera phone
Galaxy A8S was the first Infinity-O punch-hole camera phone

It seems the first under-display camera (UDC) module may arrive next year according a report. The report reveals that Samsung is already preparing the technology for mass production.

South Korean media website, The Elec reports that Samsung’s Under Display Camera Technology (UDC) will finds its way on to a smartphone by the first half of 2020. Samsung Display has brought two pieces of equipment to its campuses: the HIAA1 and HIAA2. The term HIAA stands for Hole In Active Area which reportedly helps Samsung to cut out a display in the OLED for the camera.

Samsung is reportedly testing the HIAA1 equipment for standard punch-hole displays while the HIAA2 will be used for the Under Display Camera technology. While the HIAA1 was brought to Samsung’s campus back in August, the HIAA2 was brought to the facility this month. Mass production of the UDC OLED panels is expected to kick off around H1 2020.

How Samsung’s Under Display Camera Technology Works

According to The Elec, Samsung will use the HIAA2 equipment to create a transparent display where the UDC will be placed. The equipment comes with a laser to drill a number of tiny holes in the display to improve the transmission of light to the camera below it. The process is called Laser Etching.

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Samsung’s current R&D team is focused on reducing the size and number of pixels in that area and increasing the transparency and permeability of the substrate. The current OLED substrate is not transparent and has a yellow tint.

After testing out HIAA2 this month, Samsung Display will reportedly send it out to mass production facilities early next year. A true Under Display Camera smartphone from Samsung can be expected by the first half of 2020.

Under display camera
Oppo’s prototype under-display camera smartphone

The First-Gen Under Display Cameras May Come With Many Challenges

Samsung has a lot of challenges to overcome in order to perfect this technology. Apart from making a specific area of the OLED display transparent for the camera underneath, the company will also have to work on the algorithms to effectively balance the yellow glow and slight blurriness of the photos captured from the camera.

While this might take some time, we expect the UDC technology to improve in the coming years, just like the under-display fingerprint sensor which improved after a couple of generations.

More Smartphones Could Feature UDC In 2020.

Samsung would most likely use this UDC technology on an S series flagship, possibly the S11. But it’s more likely the technology show up on the successor to the Galaxy Fold next year.

Of course, Samsung want to be the first smartphone maker to release an Under Display Camera smartphone which looks more like but could soon be joined by multiple companies. OPPO, Xiaomi, and Honor have confirmed that they are working on an Under Display Camera smartphone. As a matter of fact, Xiaomi and OPPO have both showcased their own a few months back.

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Well, we can’t wait to see if this could the beginning of breakthrough in achieving 100% bezel-less front. We hope so.

However, exciting times ahead.



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