The Samsung Galaxy S21 series of phones, spearheaded by the outstanding Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, has set the best smartphones world alight recently. Not only have they been critically well-received across the board, but they've also set new sales records for the South Korean phone maker.
However, as impressive as the Galaxy S21 range has been, there is one piece of technology that they didn't deliver that phone enthusiasts have been crying out for – an under-display selfie camera.
Ever since Apple introduced the notch to camera phones, and then Android rivals riffed on that to create pin hole and pop-up selfie cameras, the dream solution of an under-display camera has sat just out of reach. The dream of having a completely un-interrupted display while also not having to worry about mechanical mechanism failure for a front-facing camera has remained unrealised.
Well, that is until this year, with Samsung leakster-in-chief Ice universe revealing mere days ago that the incoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 folding phone is "likely to adopt UPC". And, for those not familiar with that acronym, UPC stands for "under panel camera".
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Galaxy Z Fold3 is still very likely to adopt UPC pic.twitter.com/DD6TMPLlM0February 15, 2021
This news is interesting, as it comes mere months after an official Samsung patent was discovered that was entitled "Electronic device including sub display and method of operating same". This patent shows and depicts a mobile phone that has an under panel selfie camera system, and it was filed in June 2020 with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Put these two pieces of evidence together, along with a series of leaks and rumors about Samsung working on an under display camera solution, and it seems like 2021 is going to be the year in which we finally see this technology launch in a consumer product.
Indeed, with the the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 currently slated for a June 2021 release date, that would mean that it would be exactly one year from the date the patent was filed by Samsung that the technology hit the market.
However, we think it fair to say that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is going to have significantly lower adoption than the S21 range has seen, mainly due to the added expense that is necessary when buying folding phones right now. Yes, the price of foldables is coming down, but there's no way the Z Fold 3 will retail for an S21 price point.
It therefore currently looks like it will be next year's Samsung Galaxy S22 that will be the first mass produced and widely adopted phone, making it a landmark device in the history of mobiles.
Now, of course, there might be another Android phone brand that swoops in to steal the Samsung Galaxy S22 thunder, as we know that Huawei and Xiaomi are working on the technology, too. However, with Samsung taking so much momentum from this year's S21 success, and that it has such a massive market audience all around the world, it now looks like the Samsung Galaxy S22 is going to be a primary driver for the adoption of the new technology.
And, at least from our perspective here at T3, we can't help but feel that as soon as one major device like the Samsung Galaxy S22 gets an under screen camera, then every other brand will quickly follow suit, including Apple that tends to wait for a technology to mature a little before it adopts it into its iPhone range. We can totally see a situation where the Samsung Galaxy S22 is followed by the iPhone 14 in having at least one handset in its range that features and under screen camera.
All said, it looks like the following 12 months are going to be a very exciting period for smartphones, and we for one are very excited.
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