Three smartphone patent applications by Chinese electronics company Xiaomi have been revealed recently, giving us a peek into its latest pop-up camera design.
The smartphone manufacturer reportedly applied to the China National Intellectual Property Administration for three bezel-less phone design patents, all of which adopt pop-up cameras. All three designs include two front-facing cameras, but sport two, three and five rear-facing cameras respectively. This means the third design has a seven-camera setup.
Pop-up cameras and multiple cameras are not rare in the smartphone industry. For instance, the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro is equipped with a penta-camera system. And OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi and many others have all used pop-up camera designs in their phones. However, according to the illustrations of the new patents, the pop-up mechanism will be thinner than the entire body. Despite the wide structure that takes up most of the space above the screen, it remains a big challenge to fit as many as seven camera lenses in such a small area considering the thickness of cameras.
Of course, there’s still a long way from patent to actual mass production. And the purpose of patent filings is not always for commercialization, but also for creative protection. But cramming more and more sensors in a narrow area seems to be a trend in smartphone design and manufacture, and a hepta-camera setup may come sooner than expected.