Want under-display cameras? Sorry to burst your bubble, says Xiaomi

OPPO's under-display camera
OPPO's under-display camera (Image credit: @DurvidImel on Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Despite a lot of excitement surrounding the tech, under-display cameras have not yet made it to market.
  • As Xiaomi VP Lu Weibing explained this week, the technology is just not ready for prime time yet.
  • One of the issues has to do with the extremely high pixel density on most modern phones.

While Nokia is said to be readying a phone with an under-display camera for launch this June, the latest comments from a Xiaomi VP suggest those rumors may be far too optimistic — or maybe Nokia's just years ahead of the rest of the mobile industry once again. Remember those good old times when Nokia was king of the mobile world?

Back to Xiaomi's Lu Weibing, the exec says that despite his company being one of only two smartphone makers to have shown off a prototype with a working under-display camera, the tech is just not market-ready yet (via GSMArena). The comments mimic those made by an OPPO VP — the other company to have shown a working demo — earlier in the month.

Weibing fingers the current quality of the camera for the delays. Since the camera is placed under the screen, it's simply not receiving enough light for high-quality captures. Further complicating things is the high pixel density found on most phones today.

With the pixels packed so close together, there's not as much space between them for light to reach the camera. An obvious solution would be to use less pixel-dense screens, but given that high-resolution screens were the 'next big thing' (remember the fuss about Retina displays?) not so long ago, customers will likely not respond well to a compromise there.

While it's not clear when these technical challenges will be overcome, it's likely not going to be this year. OPPO has already said the Find X2 won't have an under-display camera. Weibing leaves some hope for the future, though, saying the entire industry is working on the problem and will find a solution soon. And who knows? Maybe Nokia's done it already.

Samsung will reportedly unveil a smartphone with an under-display camera next year

Muhammad Jarir Kanji