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ZTE has presented an improved second-generation integrated camera that will likely be used on its next flagship. The pixel density on the camera has doubled from 200ppi to 400ppi, which should make the display more consistent. The company also showcased the onscreen 3D face unlock technology for use in various apps.
ZTE surprised everyone by becoming the first OEM smartphone maker to make integrated camera technology commercially available on a smartphone. Several OEMs worked on this technology, but ZTE felt confident enough to release it to the general public, so that must be good, right? Unfortunately, ZTE’s implementation left something to be desired in both presentation and image quality. In fact, second-generation technology is on the way and promises improvements.
In an article on Weibo (via Android Authority), ZTE revealed some details about its second-generation integrated camera technology. For starters, the company managed to increase the screen pixel density on the camera from 200ppi to 400ppi. That’s already higher than the 388ppi on the original ZTE Axon 20 display, and the company says the display should be “more consistent”. The first integrated camera had the misfortune of being still a little visible in the form of a small dark square behind the screen.
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Since ZTE’s solution for integrated camera technology relies on the camera’s ability to capture light between pixels on the screen, it’s interesting that the company was able to double the density of the screen. Not only that, but ZTE says the screen refresh rate has been increased from 90Hz to 120Hz, which is already indicative of what to expect for the next-gen Axon smartphone. Unfortunately, it is not known whether the actual camera quality improved or not, a factor that spoiled the first generation for having blurry and inferior images.
ZTE also unveiled a solution for in-screen 3D face unlock using structured light technology, similar to what is found in iPhones and the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. As a more secure facial unlocking means than found on even the best Samsung phones, this is the first time that such technology has been designed to work without a large notch being cut off on the screen. ZTE says its implementation could be used for secure payments, “but can also be used for 3D modeling, AR and other applications.”
It’s great to see that ZTE is already improving its on-board camera technology, apparently solving some of the issues it faced on the first generation. Of course, the bigger question here is image quality, and we might not know the results of all this hard work until the launch of ZTE’s next flagship.
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