Last year, a company called ProTruly announced two smartphones with built-in 360-degree cameras. Although the idea sounds great on paper, the problem is that 360-degree camera modules are quite big and don’t really look that great on handsets. It makes them both a lot taller as well as thicker.
The ProTruly Darling, for example, which you can see in the image above, is actually 8.9 mm thick without the camera bump as well as 181.4 mm tall despite having a 5.5-inch screen. For comparison, the recently announced OnePlus 5 that sports a display of the same size is 154.2 mm tall and 7.3 mm thick.
But it looks like things will change for the better in the near future. At MWC in Shanghai, Engadget talked with a company called HT Optical that makes the cameras found on ProTruly’s devices. The company said that it is working on a much smaller 360 camera module that will actually fit into a 7.6 mm thick smartphone and will be capable of capturing 16 MP photos and shoot 4K videos. What’s even more interesting is that the module will only add an extra 1 mm to the overall thickness of a device.
What the company didn’t mention is how much taller will a smartphone with this camera module be compared to devices featuring the same screen size and a standard camera. In the case of the already mentioned ProTruly Darling, we are talking about around 3 cm, which is quite a lot.
I guess we’ll find out soon enough, as the first smartphone with the latest 360 camera module is expected to be unveiled on July 30 in China. Aside from the camera, nothing is known about it at this point.