Every so often, the smartphone market is gripped by a new competition. We had the fight for the most megapixels in a camera. We had the race to be the smallest… and then the race to be the biggest.

Now it’s all about using as much of the front of the phone as possible for the screen. Which means companies have come up with clever solutions for dealing with the selfie camera. Apple, famously, embraced the notch. Vivo and Oppo hid the camera in a module that mechanically appears when needed. And Nubia put another screen on the back so you can take your selfies with the main camera.

What’s the next step? Holes.

Leaks suggest the newest Oppo phone won’t have a notch or a pop-up module — instead, the selfie camera will be behind the screen, visible through two small holes in the display.

Weibo users joke that it looks like a pair of nostrils. (Picture: VP科技兽 on Weibo)

The device is still months away, so the real Oppo R19 could be very different from these photos. But it seems highly likely that it will use the hole design for the selfie cameras — according to tipster Ice Universe, who assured posters on Weibo that the R19 will come in March next year with at least one camera hole on the display.

And Oppo probably won’t be alone in adopting this design. Huawei is reportedly working on a phone with the design, and so is LG, who reportedly just filed a patent that puts the dual selfie cameras in an oval-shaped hole. Samsung also has a patent for the hole design that dates back to January this year, and it’s expected that the Samsung A8s will have this feature.

But more reports suggest that Samsung is now developing something more advanced than this: Under Panel Sensors, which aims to make those cameras under the display invisible, a little like how the new in-display fingerprint sensors aren’t visible through the display.



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