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Google Pixel 7 or Pixel Fold might come with under-display cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The under-display camera on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

The Google Pixel 7 is expected to debut toward the end of 2022, but a new tidbit in the first few days of January may have given us a glimpse into one of the big upgrades.

According to a new patent, Google is working on technology that would allow for it to include an under-display camera on its upcoming phones. That may mean the tech will be ready for the Google Pixel 7 or Google Pixel Fold.

The patent was published with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in mid-December, but it was originally submitted by Google back in August 2021. LetsGoDigital then spotted the patent in the last few days and were first to report on it.

Google has also reportedly hired an ex-Samsung display engineer who lists on their LinkedIn profile that they helped work on "transparent displays" at the company. This person is specifically listed as part of the project on the Google patent.

Why now, Google?

This new patent isn't the time Google has filed documentation for an under-display camera technology, but this is notably more cost efficient than its previously patented tech.

However, as it the case with all patents, there's no guarantee this technology will be used on a future smartphone. It may be ready for the Google Pixel 7, but we can't say for certain whether this technology will be ready for Google's 2022 Pixel.

We've seen a couple of companies include this tech on particular handsets since late 2020, and we're expecting to see under-display cameras on other future flagship phones from different manufacturers.

The first phone to feature the technology was the ZTE Axon 20, and we've since seen it on further ZTE phones as well as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 and the Moto Edge X30 Special Edition. Current leaks and rumors suggest Samsung won't be including it on its highly anticipated Galaxy S22 range.


Analysis: it needs to be good for the Pixel 7

The truth is that under-display camera technology is still in its infancy, and we've yet to truly see a great selfie camera that is hiding under a screen. 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 improved upon the ZTE technology before it, but it still provided images that were murkier than what you'd get with a phone that sports a punch-hole camera or a notch. 

The under-display camera was also quite visible on the Z Fold 3, too.

For Google to be ready to include this technology, we'd hope it has had a breakthrough with its own technologies. This patent could mean that Google has the best option for an under-display selfie camera.

We won't know for certain until we see a Google Pixel phone that features an under-display camera.

Via Phone Arena

James Peckham

James is Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.


James is currently most excited about the Samsung Galaxy S22, God of War: Ragnarok and the rumored foldable iPhone