I know not everybody’s a fan of the pop-up selfie cam – mechanical moving parts n’ all – but I think they’re fantastic. They free up that screen space, they aren’t hindered by having to try to look through the display, and there’s no risk of scratching them when your phone’s just rolling around in your pocket.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer VIVO, though, has taken the pop-up selfie cam to a whole new level with their new IFEA concept camera – which has won a Red Dot Award for the design. And it opens up a whole host of possibilities for modular cameras in future smartphones. No longer might you need to upgrade your entire phone to get better shots!
At the moment, it seems that the phone is just a concept with no plans to make it into a real phone, but the potential that a manufacturer might do this is pretty exciting. After all, many of the technologies found in our smartphones today were first brought to light by VIVO concept phones – like the original pop-up selfie cam and under-display fingerprint scanners.
Now, this particular concept (and it is still a concept) does primarily limited to the selfie camera, but if they (or another manufacturer) chooses to pursue it further, it holds a lot of promise. If you’re a bit of a selfie addict, then whenever a new sensor or smartphone camera tech is released, you wouldn’t need to buy a whole new phone, just a little module to replace the one in the phone you already have.
There’s also nothing to stop them designing the connector to let you rotate it 180° and mount it the other way, turning it into a rear camera. But even if they don’t (or can’t) design it to let you flip the module around at will, there’s still nothing to stop them designing a rear camera module instead of a selfie camera module.
Now modular rear cameras for smartphones… That would be a very neat trick.
I do wonder, though, how well it would hold up if a company did make this a reality. The pop-up selfie cam in my OnePlus 7 Pro is pretty solid, but that’s because it’s non-removable. The challenge would be to keep that same level of solidity while allowing the user to be able to easily swap the module at will without it falling off the phone randomly by accident. And that’s a tricky challenge in a part so small.
Still, it’s a very cool idea!