Sony is joining a long line of manufactures – including Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei – with at least one model featuring a retractable camera. Sony’s front camera only pops up when you want to use it.
When you’re not using the front camera, you’ll have the full notch-less front-screen display at your disposal. A recently published patent document explains how the pop-down mechanism works.
Sony Xperia patent details
Sony Xperia pop-up camera
The utility patent was filed in Japan back in 2018. According to the description, the document is for a “portable electronic device and method for controlling a portable electronic device”.
The patent was approved on 14 May 2020 and published in theWorld Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) database. The images contained in this article was created by LetsGoDigital based on the information in the patent document.
The extensive document – which can be seen here – describes a Sony smartphone with borderless screen design. The frame is extremely narrow with a sleek pop-up camera.
This design leaves enough space to integrate a speaker in the top extendable part in addition to the pop-up camera. A similar extendable system is mounted on the bottom of the mobile device.
Xperia pop-down speaker
The setup at the bottom includes only a speaker, not a camera, making it a dual-speaker device – think of it as a ‘speaker box’ ready to blast high-quality audio.
In addition to the speaker located at the bottom, there is also an antenna in both slider parts. Let’s Go Digital reports that the top and bottom parts can move independently and are activated automatically depending on usage.
“If you only need the selfie camera, only the pop-up camera will be activated. Do you want to make a call? Then both the pop-up and pop-down mechanisms will be activated. When listening to music or playing a video or movie, both the top and bottom parts will extend – the two speakers must then provide an excellent audio experience”.
Design and manufacturing challenges
The manufacturing and release details of the device are not known at this stage, and it remains to be seen if Sony intends to release the device with both the camera and speaker system.
It could work; Sony’s recent Xperia smartphones are equipped with an elongated display with a ration of 21:9. However, space could still prove to be a problem.
This would also have an impact on waterproofing, a feature present in most Xperia models. After all, the Sony Xperia Z was the world’s first waterproof phone, released back in 2013. I loved that phone.
To waterproof or not to waterproof?
The two systems described in the patent document could perhaps indicate that this Xperia device won’t be waterproof. Or, Sony has found a workaround and is just keeping it under wraps for the time being.
According to Let’s Go Digital, a punch-hole camera could e the solution. Most devices to be released in 2020 will have a punch-hole selfie camera. They explain:
“Although Sony has not yet released an Xperia smartphone with such a camera system, we recently reported on a Sony smartphone with a punch-hole camera. We are therefore very curious what the Japanese manufacturer will choose. The next high-end model that is expected is the Sony Xperia 5 II; perhaps this smartphone will have a new type of selfie camera.”