ZTE plans to become the first smartphone maker to launch a device with a camera embedded under the display this fall with the launch of its newly announced ZTE Axon 20 5G.
The device will launch in China on September 1st, but beyond that, few details have been revealed. The ZTE Axon 20 5G will support 5G connectivity, as the name implies; but it’s the device’s groundbreaking under-display camera that was the central focus of ZTE’s announcement.
“By launching the world’s first 5G smartphone with under-display camera, ZTE will further promote the development of display technologies in the smartphone industry, thereby bringing revolutionized experiences to all consumers,” the company asserted.
The technological development opens up interesting possibilities with respect to mobile biometrics. In the wake of Apple’s launch of its Face ID system, facial recognition has been widely embraced across the smartphone sector, challenging the dominance of fingerprint authentication in the upper end of the price spectrum; but this technology has required smartphone makers to carve out space on their devices that could otherwise be occupied by ever larger screens, usually in the form of a notch that houses a front-facing camera. An under-display camera would offer an obvious solution, enabling truly full-sized displays that could cover the entire front face of a smartphone.
For its part, however, ZTE has been one of the mobile players to embrace in-display fingerprint scanning technology in its latest flagship smartphones. It isn’t clear if the company’s under-display camera would interfere with the functionality of such a fingerprint recognition system, but if so, it could prompt a pivot to a stronger focus on facial recognition, adding further momentum to the latter modality.
In any case, the under-display camera should at least help to further the trend of increasing screen size across the mobile industry, and to burnish ZTE’s reputation as an industry leader, unless one of its rivals has been quietly preparing its own under-display camera technology for launch within the next couple of weeks.