A new patent filed by tech giant Google suggests that an upcoming foldable Pixel device will see the debut of a disappearing under-display camera.
According to a recent report courtesy of GSMArena, Google filed a 23-page patent that shows the under-screen camera positioned opposite a small secondary screen with some sort of mirror or prism separating the two that swings open to reveal the camera when the user needs it.
The 2-3mm window in the display appears seamless when closed, and also contains another sensor which could be either a proximity, ambient, or IR sensor.
If the secondary sensor is in fact of the IR variety it would likely be for facial recognition scanning, which could signal a return to that particular biometric authentication modality following last year’s decision to move away from it with the release of the Pixel 5 in October.
Prior to the release of the Pixel 5, Google went with facial recognition in the Pixel 4 and 4a after abandoning the iconic rear-mounted fingerprint sensor found in the three previous iterations of its flagship Pixel device.
As is the case with most patents filed by smartphone makers, the tech featured in this particular patent may not feature in the foldable Pixel that could also be released this year alongside the Pixel 6. If it ever makes its way into a commercial product at all, it may instead debut in a second generation of the foldable device next year, alongside what will presumably be the Pixel 7.
Google is only one of a number of major smartphone manufacturers that are working on under-display cameras. Some rumours point to Apple releasing the upcoming iPhone 13 with a similar technology.