OnePlus patents a front camera so small it fits in the top frame

In-screen punch-hole cameras have become the most common way to maximize screen space on smartphones.

The only real alternative to punch-hole camera is under-screen camera technology. However, to date, only the ZTE Axon 20 5G has such a camera and the image quality captured is not very good.

Now OnePlus has presented an alternative: a selfie camera that is not on the screen or below it, but is housed in a frame.

This new type of sensor is described in a patent filed with the Chinese intellectual property office CNIPA. The sensor appears to be much smaller than usual to fit in a tight space.

The sensor is compatible with both flat and curved screens, so it could lead to phones with almost invisible frames.

This patent appears to build on earlier work by its sister company, OPPO, on a selfie camera that is also integrated into a phone frame, although not as effectively. Therefore, it could appear in future devices of either brand.

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