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Future Pixel phones might get this unique under-display camera tech

A recently granted patent describes in detail how Google might implement an under-display selfie camera on future Pixels.

Published onMay 17, 2021

Google Pixel logos
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • A Google patent describes in detail how the company might implement an under-display selfie camera on future Pixels.
  • Google could embed a secondary display and a prism under the main OLED panel to facilitate the tech.

We still haven’t seen under-display selfie cameras that can shoot good quality images. None of the top OEMs have jumped onto the bandwagon yet, possibly because the tech is underbaked. However, rumor has it that Samsung’s upcoming foldable phone might be the first mainstream device to get an under-display camera. Looks like the South Korean company is not the only one thinking seriously about improving the tech.

According to a recently discovered 23-page Google patent (h/t LetGoDigital), the Mountain View firm has come up with its own unique way of implementing an under-display camera on future Pixel phones.

The patent describes in detail the method Google could use if it ever adopts the technology. The document titled “Full-screen display with sub-display camera” imagines a Google smartphone with an OLED panel. The front shooter and secondary display are placed below the main screen.

A Samsung patent also recently revealed the use of an extra screen to cover up the under-display camera, but Google’s method is slightly different.

Google phone with under-display camera

A patent image shows how Google plans to place the second screen directly opposite the camera sensor. There’s a prism or mirror is positioned between the sensor and the secondary display. When the selfie camera is in use, the prism rotates to let in light through a small, 2-3mm window. When not in use, the prism rotates to reflect the content displayed on the second screen onto the main display.

The sub-display also reportedly has three sensors on it, possibly to enable face unlock.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on when and if Google will use this method to implement under-display cameras on its phones. From the leaks we’ve seen so far, the upcoming Pixel 6 and recently tipped Pixel 6 Pro may stick to a centered cutout for the selfie camera. So we sort of know that under-display cameras aren’t coming to Google Pixel phones, at least this year. However, whenever they do, it’ll be interesting to see what Google’s solution finally looks like.