Essential allegedly files an under-display camera patent
Some evidence that Essential may return to the premium smartphone game after all has come to light, in the form of a new patent submitted to the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO). It describes a portion of a conventional smartphone screen that can overlay a front-facing camera without the need for a precision-laser cut-out for this module.
This claim mainly revolves around what Essential Products apparently calls a "variable transparency layer". This means that its opacity can be dialled up or down depending on the need to deploy the selfie camera. This function is to be controlled by a voltage device coupled to the same layer.
It is operated via a dedicated part of a given phone's system, which checks which apps are running and, thus, when to cause the layer to become clear. As this concept also somewhat applies to many kinds of existing security or privacy glass barriers, it may indeed work for the makers of the PH-1. Furthermore, other OEMs such as Xiaomi, OPPO and Samsung are also now linked to similar technology.
This design may not come to fruition in a real-life phone for some time, however, particularly as it was published on October 17, 2019. Therefore, it is not likely to feature in the upcoming, oddly remote control-shaped Project GEM phone reportedly in the works at Essential, for example. This device has already been seen with a punch-hole selfie shooter, in any case.