Xiaomi was looking into a wild rotating phone camera design
But perhaps most exciting will be the under-display selfie cameras we are going to see later this year. Most recently, the Samsung Galaxy S21 (S30) has been rumored to come with one such hidden selfie shooter.
Xiaomi has already patented a phone with an under-display camera, and another clamshell one with a rotating camera module, so we know the Chinese giant is looking into all of the possibilities, even if we haven't seen a consumer smartphone based on those designs yet.
A patent which Xiaomi had applied for in late June of 2019 has today been released, and thanks to MyFixGuide, we can now see yet another approach to smartphone cameras Xiaomi was likely trying out last year.
In the patent we see an unusual camera module that appears to hold dual back cameras and one selfie shooter on its other side. The idea was that the module, which can rotate 360 degrees, would stand up vertically when taking photos with the main camera, then return back to its horizontal position when not needed. Alternatively, when the module is standing vertically or if pushed to the side horizontally, the selfie camera on the module's other side would show up and be ready to photograph the user.
An external module holding three cameras like this one would have added a reasonably large bump to the phone, making it likely to snag to the user's pocket and raise questions in regards to durability. Regardless, this idea was probably scrapped soon after, and Xiaomi will do what other manufacturers are likely to do later this year – implement under-screen selfie cameras instead. But it has still been interesting to see all the designs a large smartphone maker goes through until it settles on what it deems best.