Xiaomi Mi 9 with under screen camera screenshot frozen on the camera outline.

Xiaomi Director of Product Management Donovan Sung has shown off a Xiaomi Mi 9 prototype which features an under-display selfie camera. The prototype appears in a video posted on Twitter earlier today, offering a side-by-side comparison of the device and what looks like a regular Xiaomi Mi 9.

The two phones look almost identical, though the notch-less prototype includes only the outline of a camera buried beneath its display (highlighted in the image above). In the video, a person unlocks the two phones and opens the same app on both — indicating they are functionally the same — before opening the Mi 9 camera app on the prototype device, and taking a selfie.

Check out the action below:

Under display, in development

A number of Android OEMs are known to be working on under display smartphone cameras and they’re expected to be seen on commercial Android flagships within the next two years. Oppo just showed off an under-display camera design earlier today also, while Samsung’s phones are tipped to arrive with the tech by 2020 at the earliest.

This technology is viewed as superior to the camera notch and in-bezel camera as it allows for more usable space on the display area. As is shown in the recent Xiaomi video, the under display camera doesn’t affect what appears on screen — it simply works like a normal display. We don’t yet know if the technology impacts the display’s touch-sensitivity, however.

Samsung Developer Conference Notch Displays

Samsung has already produced Inifinity-O displays with punch-hole cameras. It’s next Infinity screens are set to include under display cameras.

A Xiaomi Mi 9 with under-screen camera would be a welcome addition to the Android smartphone world, but Xiaomi probably isn’t going to give this a general release just yet. Xiaomi has demonstrated the technology’s viability though, which means we could see it on a phone in the near future — perhaps the Mi 10 in 2020.

Otherwise, the Mi Mix 4 coming later this year has an outside chance of sporting an under display camera — the original Mi Mix was renowned for pushing the bezel-less screen design forward. It would make sense for Xiaomi to test the water regarding under screen cameras on a Mix device too.

What do you think of the Mi 9 prototype? Let me know in the comments.

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