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Samsung Galaxy S21's Big Party Trick May be an Under-Display Camera

Xiaomi's demonstration of under display front camera technology. (Representative image)

Xiaomi's demonstration of under display front camera technology. (Representative image)

The Galaxy S series' ultimate device this year went for 5G connectivity, 16GB RAM and 100x zoom.

It has barely been a few months since the Galaxy S20, Samsung's flagship smartphone for 2020, was launched, and rumours have alread started circulating about what the Galaxy S21 might bring to the table. A new report suggests that Samsung's R&D division is mulling over introducing an under-display selfie camera in the company's flagship smartphone for 2021, which would seemingly make the smartphone stand out from the rest of the devices for the year.

The report seems a bit premature, and it is likely that Samsung is considering an under-display front camera to be one of the options that it may employ in a bid to give a unique feature to its flagship phone. While some OEMs have produced proofs of the under-display selfie camera concept, the technology is yet to mature fully. Technical restraints to using this feature in production include making sure that the display itself does not look inconsistent, the layer of pixels and the pixel density in the screen area covering the camera is consistent with the rest of the panel, and for the camera, that the display does not restrict the amount of light reaching the sensor, and in turn, preserving the potential quality of images taken with such cameras.

The reason why this feature seems plausible is because of Samsung's sheer might — the company is one of the world's largest electronics and technology giants, and also runs one of the world's foremost display manufacturing units under its subsidiary, Samsung Display. It also makes its own image sensors under the Isocell brand, and all of this gives Samsung the required resources to be able to work on a feature like under-display cameras, and attempt to perfect it in future.

However, given the coronavirus pandemic, and expectations that it will take up most of 2020 and global resources in containing it, Samsung may find itself stretched to go about their smartphone technology R&D as per usual schedule. Samsung's 2020 flagship, the Galaxy S20, used a 100x zoom feature to stand out from the crowd, but the feature is still regarded as more gimmicky than truly productive. If Samsung does attempt to use an under-display camera in the Galaxy S21 next year, it will hope that there is some concrete value addition to the device, rather than being a feature for feature's sake.