Samsung Galaxy S21 beaten to the punch in Oppo shock camera assault

Oppo outpaces Samsung in the next-gen camera race

Oppo under screen camera
(Image credit: Oppo)

With the rollout of foldable smartphones, tech companies and manufacturers are having to up the ante to get a leg up on the competition and dazzle consumers with shiny, new features they didn't even know they wanted. 

One big advancement that's in the works right now is under display selfie cameras, which will do away with notches for good, giving way to full, uninterrupted displays.

Oppo has been looking into this tech for a while now, revealing its first prototype last year, and now it's on the brink of a mass market product that will bring its under-screen camera (USC) to a 5G smartphone that's set to release next year. 

While Oppo isn't alone in exploring this technology – with Xiaomi debuting its own experimental USC tech at around the same time – the Chinese manufacturer might be the first to market with it, although that's not always a good thing. We all remember Samsung's Galaxy Fold debacle after all!

LetsGoDigital has spotted a newly published Oppo patent for a smartphone that incorporates the new tech in a 5G handset featuring a panel that's pure, uninterrupted screen real estate with a bezel that's barely-there on the sides, and widens a scooch at the top and bottom. 

It sports a circular rear camera array (which brings to mind the newly announced Huawei Mate 40) with three lenses, and doesn't extend too much beyond the chassis. While it has physical power and volume buttons, they sit flush against the side of the device thanks to recesses in the frame.

Weirdly, the unnamed smartphone features a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a USB Type-C port, so those of you who have been lamenting the phasing out of the connection on newer hardware have something to get excited about. 

Oppo patent

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

Oppo and Xiaomi aren't the only ones beavering away on making USC a reality; Samsung is also hard at work on the feature, which we may see roll out as early as January in the Galaxy S21.

With it being an unproven technology, it could be risky for Samsung to rush in and possibly have a repeat of the Fold on its hands, but tipsters have said that the Korean company's USC solution is in a more advanced state than its competitors, and that the bar for quality is higher thanks to "stricter requirements".

Oppo might find itself beaten to the punch, but that's not end of the world. Now that we're entering unknown territory with our smart devices, missteps are easier to make; it may not be first, but depending on what everyone else is bringing to the table, that might not matter in the grander scheme of things. 

Source: LetsGoDigital

Shabana Arif

Shabana worked at as News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). She's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down here at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies. If you have any tech or gaming tips, shoot over an email or DM her on social media.