Smartphone trends 2021: What’s next for phone cameras?

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Not too long ago, smartphones came with relatively unflattering 2MP rear cameras that used to capture grainy images. Mostly used to capture moments when a digital camera wasn’t around, phone cameras were crude and extremely basic. All that changed over the last decade, and when HTC first launched a dual-camera phone, it was met with indifference. Brands at the time saw little value in offering smartphones with good cameras, and believed that the technology would either be too sophisticated, or that digital cameras couldn’t be supplanted.

Fast-forward to 2021, and we now have mobile phones that are working on penta-rear cameras, dual-selfie cameras, pop-up cameras and motorized cameras, among others. Furthermore, brands like Xiaomi and Samsung are offering state-of-the-art 108MP rear cameras, while others like Realme have launched phones that offer 60x zoom. Brands are now thinking outside the box, in an effort to be ‘the first’; to set precedence, and boast about being the trailblazer and trendsetter.

that are working on penta-rear cameras, dual-selfie cameras, pop-up cameras and motorized cameras, among others. Furthermore, brands like Xiaomi and Samsung are offering state-of-the-art 108MP rear cameras, while others like Realme have launched phones that offer 60x zoom. Brands are now thinking outside the box, in an effort to be ‘the first’; to set precedence, and boast about being the trailblazer and trendsetter.

So the question now remains: what’s next in camera phones? Which is the latest technology that we can possibly see smartphone brands integrating in their upcoming handsets? Let’s take a closer look at some of the suspects.

Penta-rear cameras

The best camera phones today, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi Note 10 come with 108MP cameras, which is the highest resolution available when it comes to smartphone cameras. Most of the mid-range, mid-premium and premium smartphones sport quad-rear camera configurations, but that is soon expected to change across the board. In the near future, all the mid-premium and premium smartphones are expected to have not four, but five rear cameras.

Nokia 9 PureView launched in India

Xiaomi’s Mi Note 10 comes with five rear cameras, while Samsung is also about to launch its smartphone models with five cameras at the back. The Samsung A72 is expected to be Samsung’s first smartphone to be unveiled in India, which would carry five cameras at the back, and other brands are soon expected to follow suit.

Under-display cameras

Smartphone cameras are getting more and more sophisticated. While the pop-up camera feature was initially offered by brands to remove the pesky water-drop notch from the screen, brands are now tinkering with removing the notch altogether. What this essentially means is, there won’t be any notches or punch-holes, providing a completely bezel-less, edge-to-edge full-view display, offering an immersive viewing experience like never before.

ZTE AXON world’s first under-display camera phone.

Xiaomi has already announced its smartphone line with under-display front camera, while Vivo too has revealed its Vivo Apex 2020 smartphone, which will come with an under-display camera. Soon, this might become the norm, with even the best phones under 20000 INR coming with under-display cameras for greater convenience.

Removable pop-up camera

We’ve talked about under-display cameras and pop-up cameras, but Vivo wants to take things a bit further. The brand has already elaborated on its interest to design a smartphone that comes with a removable pop-up camera! The idea behind the detachable pop-up camera phone is that it would not only offer greater convenience, but it could also act as spy cam, bringing a concept you’d only find in James Bond movies to life.

Vivo’s IFEA concept phone has a camera module that is attached to the smartphone magnetically. Even when the camera module is detached from the smartphone, the viewfinder works normally, thereby allowing the user to click photos using the camera even when it isn’t connected to the smartphone. This also seems like the logical evolution, as we’ve already seen pop-up cameras and motorized cameras. Having a smartphone with a detachable camera would be a dream come true for photographers, videographers, bloggers and adventure seekers alike.

However, this is still a concept phone, and it will take some time for the brand to start mass-producing phones with detachable cameras. Furthermore, these smartphones, understandably, will be expensive, and might not be readily available to the budget and mid-range consumers.

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