An Oppo patent for a punch-hole display feature. WIPO

Oppo has patented some display features that would integrate with the punch hole camera. The two patents were published January 18 and 22 (via LetsGoDigital) on the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) showing how the in-display camera could become an element of the app.

One of the patents (above) depicts rows of Android apps positioned across the top of the display, with the camera app covering the front-facing camera at the top left. With the software app placed here, the app’s lens would overlap with the physical camera lens, creating the illusion that they’re one and the same. Seemingly, the camera app would always remain in position even when swiping to another homepage (where you might expect a different app to replace it).

In the second patent (below), the camera app’s permanence would apparently be able to be switched off by swiping the app icon across the display to unbind it.

An Oppo patent for a punch-hole camera feature. WIPO

This seems like a clever way to hide the punch-hole camera while we wait for a better solution on the road to fullscreen smartphones. It could reduce the prominence of the sensor within the display, with the caveat that your camera app would have to permanently remain there for the trick to work.

This wouldn’t be a problem for everybody, only those with particular tastes with regards to their shortcuts and display setups.

In related news, a recently published Samsung patent showed off a similar idea whereby a transparent display area around the punch-hole camera could animate to make the hardware sensor less obtrusive. Whether either of these ideas will ever make it to market remains to be seen — but which would you prefer? A fixed camera app icon or some kind of display animation? Let me know in the comments.

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