According to reports, Xiaomi is working on a twisting camera and rotating display module design to decrease the bezel size. A Xiaomi patent has been spotted, which features this unique design.
Twisting Camera-Module Design Patent
The patent shows a Xiaomi smartphone having a camera module that can twist 180 degrees horizontally. Thus, this rotating mechanism brings the rear camera module to the front, which can now act as a selfie-camera. Xiaomi aims to eliminate the dedicated selfie camera through this design.
The presence of a dedicated and fixed selfie-camera adds to the bezel. Hence a twisting camera module can effectively reduce bezel which Xiaomi seeks to achieve. Xiaomi has filed the patent for this unique design with China's National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
As per the new Xiaomi design, the smartphone has two sections: the bigger section is the main display panel, and the smaller section holds the rear camera module. During normal usage, both sections form a single display.
While taking a selfie the upper smaller portion rotates to bring the rear camera to the front. Once the rear camera of Xiaomi twists to the front the screen content adjusts itself to the new aspect ratio. The display which moves to the back can now act as a secondary screen. Although, the effectiveness of it seems doubtful.
The innovative design by Xiaomi is not without its flaws. Because the display is divided into two parts, the separating line might cause a distraction while viewing.
Also, the twisting mechanism raises durability concerns. There may be dust build-up or the rotating motion might slow down with repetitive usage. Another concern is whether the rear camera will automatically rotate to the front if face unlock is used. Xiaomi hasn't given any clarity on this.
Given the concerns, it is difficult to say if the design will go commercial. Xiaomi has tried alternate designs like flexible displays in the past. In such displays, the selfie camera transforms into the rear camera set up when the display moves to the back.
Moreover, the flip camera design, wherein only the camera mechanism rises and flips to the front has been used by Samsung and ASUS in the past. Xiaomi also is working on a similar design for its Meitu-brand as per certain reports.