The Vivo NEX is known for its pop-up front-facing camera as a solution to its full-screen display. There are other smartphones that have copied the design but a new info surfaced today, revealing that Xiaomi considered it at a point. There are even images of a prototype.
In the build-up to the launch of the Mi MIX 3 which launches on October 25, Xiaomi’s spokesman, Donovan Sung, revealed details about the Mi MIX series’ development. In a tweet posted today, he said Xiaomi applied for a patent for a pop-up camera back in 2015. They even made prototypes which he shared images of.
Background on Mi MIX: As early as 2015, we applied for a patent for a popup camera, and made some test devices.
— Donovan Sung (@donovansung) October 18, 2018
As you can see in the images, the phone does have a pop-up camera similar to that of the Vivo NEX. Though, there are differences. For example, the pop-up camera in the Vivo NEX is closer to the edge of the phone but that of this Xiaomi prototype sits close to the center.
There is also a photo of the phone’s rear with the back plate off. Notice that there is no camera on the rear. It’s understandable since this is a prototype. If you look closely at the pop-up camera setup, you should see a rubber seal for protection against dust and water. You can also see the pistons that raise the camera up when needed. This prototype also has a has a 3,400mAh battery like the Mi MIX 2 and Mi MIX 2S.
Xiaomi eventually settled for the sliding form factor for the Mi MIX 3 but it will be interesting to know why it ditched the pop-up design. We also want to know if it will adopt it in future phones, maybe its less expensive models, only if it has solved whatever issues it had with the design.