Google patent suggests the Pixel 6 might have an under-display camera

Google PIxel 5
The Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Future)

One thing we'd wager most smartphone makers are trying to do right now is hide the front-facing camera on their phones, so that it doesn’t eat into the screen. We’ve seen a number of approaches to minimizing its impact, with a punch-hole seeming the most popular, but the goal for many is likely an under-display camera, and it’s something Google is seemingly working on.

We know this because a recent patent for a potential future Google Pixel phone has been unearthed by Patently Apple, and it doesn’t include a visible front-facing camera.

The patent doesn’t go into any detail as to how that’s achieved but presumably said camera would be underneath the screen, especially as we’ve seen a number of companies experiment with that idea already.

Google Pixel patent

(Image credit: Google / Patently Mobile)

Of course, that Google is seemingly exploring this idea doesn’t mean we’ll see it on a phone, but it's possible, and with the ZTE Axon 20 5G already offering an under-display camera, it’s feasible that Google’s take on the tech could be ready in time for the Google Pixel 6. That could make for a big, exciting upgrade on the Pixel 5.

Other than the lack of a visible front-facing camera, the patent images show a design much like the Pixel 5, with a square camera block on the back, and buttons on the right edge. Don’t count on this being the design of the Pixel 6 though, especially this far out from the phone’s likely late 2021 launch.

We unsurprisingly haven’t heard much else about Google’s next flagship yet, but as soon as we do we’ll be sure to let you know, so stay tuned for all the leaks and rumors as they roll in.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.