Microsoft patent envisions a Surface smartphone with an under-display camera
The patent is for a 'Logo Camera' and is meant for smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Let's Go Digital, which first came across this patent, rightfully points out that although the Microsoft Surface Duo is a unique device in its own right, it's held back by the lone 11MP camera, and the new patent filing and a job listing that popped up last year suggests the company now wants to shake things up.
Microsoft's proposed implementation goes beyond photography. Whenever the camera is not in use, a logo would be displayed, and the area could also be used to show a privacy warning or incoming notification.
That's a creative idea because the handful of commercial and prototype under-display cameras we have seen so far are not really invisible and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will reportedly be no better. So, it might make sense to display a small logo over an imperfectly disguised under-panel camera.
The document says that the under-panel camera setup may have multiple sensors and each sensor will be assigned a different color filter, which could be fixed or variable.
Presumably, to improve image quality, color-separated photos will be combined into a single image. As an example, Microsoft says up to four color filters (Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow) could be used and these would be display filters, eliminating the need for image sensor color filters.
Microsoft also acknowledges that an under-display camera setup would have its own set of challenges such as signal loss and "image quality loss by diffraction and scattering from display components."
To address these issues, Microsoft proposes computationally removing diffraction artifacts and using AI to train the system to correct light loss. The logo camera could also be placed on the back of a device.
The novel idea sounds really sciency and the system will undoubtedly be easier to comprehend when we see it in flesh, which is not guaranteed.
For now, the Surface Duo 2, and other Microsoft devices for that matter, will likely stick to conventional cameras.