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Expect 2021's upcoming Android phones to embrace under-display selfie cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21
The notch might not be around much longer. (Image credit: Future)

The next step forward for smartphone displays is to banish notches and punch-holes – and to do that, manufacturers need to find ways of putting a front-facing camera under the screen. According to one tipster, the second half of 2021 is when this will happen in a big way.

The usually reliable @UniverseIce has tweeted that phones from Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and ZTE are all going to come with under-display selfie cameras in the second half of the year, so there are a lot of innovative new products to look forward to.

No mention of Apple and the iPhone in this particular leak – it's likely that Apple will wait until the technology is refined even further before using it, so the iPhone 13 will most likely still come with a notch (albeit a smaller one).

One of the phones mentioned in the leak, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4, was already rumored to be coming with an under-display camera, so it looks likely that these predictions are accurate – even if we can't say for sure until the products have actually launched.

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It's also worth noting that @UniverseIce is predicting that both the Samsung and Oppo models with cameras under the screen will be folding phones – so straight away that makes us think of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 as a prime candidate.

The ZTE Axon 20 5G was the first phone to reach the consumer market with a camera embedded in the screen, though the photo quality from it wasn't particularly good. Today's leak hints that ZTE's next attempt will be much better.

Of course getting a camera that can take good-quality pictures through a touchscreen is no easy task – it looks as though most manufacturers are exploring the idea of using a second screen built into the main one in order to make this work properly.

The benefit is that the front of the phone can be all display, with super-thin bezels and no notches getting in the way of whatever's on screen. Once all of these phones appear, we'll be sure to test them and their selfie cameras rigorously.

David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. On TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.