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Samsung wants to eliminate unsightly cutouts, integrate selfie cameras under the display

By Shawn Knight · 8 replies
Mar 14, 2019
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  1. Notches, hole-punches and other unsightly camera cutouts could be a short-lived blemish on the smartphone industry if a recent report from Jonhap News Agency proves accurate.

    It’s not possible to make a smartphone today that integrated all of the necessary camera equipment behind the screen but according to Yang Byung-duk, vice president of Samsung's Mobile Communication R&D Group Display, “in the next 1-2 years, the technology can move forward to the point where the camera hole will be invisible.”

    An integrated camera of this nature would not affect the camera’s functionality, the executive added.

    Samsung is also considering developing an OLED display technology that allows the screen to double as a speaker, thus potentially eliminating the need for an earpiece cutout. LG Electronics has built similar technology into its new LG G8 ThinQ, which it calls Crystal Sound. The screen itself vibrates to create sound.

    It’s unclear if this could work in conjunction with Samsung’s in-screen fingerprint reader that debuted on the S10 and S10+ although that feature will likely need to be refined if Samsung wants to keep it around for future devices.

    Lead image courtesy Farknot Architect via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,287   +3,701

    Wouldn't it be simply amazing if these companies would concentrate a lot more on function rather than appearance ... just imagine how much better the phones could be!
  3. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 602   +1,211

    Indeed. The only reason they've run out of vertical room to put the camera above the screen is that they went with 18:9 instead of 16:9 (and now they're starting with 21:9 phones). If you put a camera above the screen on these, the phone ends up looking as absurd as those old parody iphone pics (link). So every attempt at a "notch" and "invisible camera" is basically an exercise in de-absurdifying an overly long phone that no longer fits in your pocket due to choosing a screen ratio that doesn't match 99% of video content...

    My ideal phone = make it 16:9 again but a few mm thicker and use the whole of the extra thickness for a +80-100% larger battery. That or simply be honest and admit we reached "peak design" a couple of years ago, that there's no reason why people need to annually upgrade anymore in an increasingly mature market and it's only marketing depts in denial of that that's left them pushing mindless notch-style gimmicks with the same cr*p battery life that somehow manage to be both over and under engineered in all the wrong areas at the same time...
    IAMTHESTIG likes this.
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,763   +1,159

    You nailed it in the head... YOUR ideal phone. They are marketing them for a huge array of people and work around that.
    Well... they are still improving designs right, all the way up to have a freaking display act as a speaker, if that's not cutting edge enough for your design I don't know what could be.
    Imagine a phone with the current displays that can almost reach 4k with the same battery gen from 5 years ago, that would be a huge no go, the current constraint IS the battery which has been hugely developed to squeeze every little mAh possible out of it from smaller designs.

    I don't disagree with everything that you say, but you may have not taken into consideration some factors.
  5. trparky

    trparky TS Evangelist Posts: 521   +410

    And to those that complain about Samsung prices, this is the kind of innovation that all that money drives. You can't innovate and do the R&D to come up with new stuff if you don't have the money to do it.

    OK sure, $1000 phone may seem nuts but that $1000 price tag finances the innovation to come up with this new stuff.
  6. kevbev89

    kevbev89 TS Maniac Posts: 181   +162

    Not saying what you are saying is wrong, but I think a lot of the more luxury phones focus on appearances more than functionality because that is simply what the consumers want.

    If people REALLY cared only about functionality, then people would be flocking to buy that Energizer phone which is as thick as my thigh.

    There is fine balance between functionality and form. Similar to how people are willing to spending more on fine dining. You COULD just get by with a basic meal that provides the necessary nutrients, but I think we can agree that most people (if they can) are willing to pay extra to have a tastier meal.

    Not directed specifically at you, but time and time again people just have knee jerk reactions without even trying out the product to provide validated feedback. I mean look at 3D TVs, that is an example where the market just barfed it right back, because no one wanted to view programs in 3D.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,702   +788

    Well there is no reason they need to keep changing the "what works" stuff like display aspect ratio. We were all happy with 16:9, movies and games fit on it nicely; there is no one asking for ultra widescreen mobile displays as far as I'm aware.

    They just keep trying to do interesting crap to draw people in to keep buying their products. Which I suppose is better than making crappy products that break so you have to go get a new one, but it is nearly as annoying giving us phones with features no one asked for which keeps making these things more and more expensive. Sure some of the tech is great and wonderful but there is no reason it can't be integrated into premium models or small batches of devices specifically to test some of the tech.
    BSim500 likes this.
  8. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,178   +856

    The Ultrasonic fingerprint reader is a stupid idea.

    #1 there have already been fingerprint scanners built into the sleep-wake button. That's a great idea.

    #2 Apple could have built a fingerprint scanner and home button as the apple logo (on back, activated by the trigger finger wrapped around the phone) with the same feel as that on the iPhone 8 Plus. But they dropped TouchID entirely - as well as the home button so they could double down on FaceID.

    #3 The placement of Apple's facetime camera and speaker will always mean there will be some type of notch.

    I personally think Apple wants it this way because they'll have some form factor that makes iPhone stand out from the crowd. All other phones that copy apple's FACEID notch will be obvious copycats.

    I personally don't think apple just wants a full display without any defining characteristics because if they have that, and other developers copy that, everything will look alike.
  9. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Evangelist Posts: 443   +260

    Again. Give me some forehead and chin for stereo speakers.

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