There’s an interesting concept making its way around Mobile World Congress. Two gadgets offer cameras hidden until activated, which offer a fresh take on design and additional privacy. Vivo built a camera into a smartphone concept that’s on a little sliding tray and Huawei will soon offer a MacBook Pro clone that features a camera hidden under a door above the keyboard.
This could be a glimpse of the future of mobile design.
Cameras have long been embedded in laptops and smartphones much to the chagrin of privacy experts. Some users cover up these cameras with tape or slim gadgets to ensure nefarious players do not remotely activate the cameras. Others, like HP, have started to build in shutters to give the user more control. Both DIY and built-in options require substantial screen bezels, which the industry is quickly racing to eliminate.
With shrinking bezels, gadget makers have to look for new solutions like the iPhone X notch. Others still, like Vivo and Huawei, are look at more elegant solutions than carving out a bit of the screen.
For Huawei, this means using a false key within the keyboard to house a hidden camera. Press the key and it pops up like a trapdoor. We tried it out and though the housing is clever, the placement makes for awkward photos — just make sure you trim those nose hairs before starting your conference call.
Vivo has a similar take to Huawei though the camera is embedded on a sliding tray that pops-up out of the top of the phone. This is in response to what Engadget’s Chris Velazco calls, “as close to a full-screen phone as I’ve seen.”
At this point both of these options are silly alternatives to proven solutions but shows an attempt to evolve standard design. Being moveable devices, both options are more likely to break or fail. Yet I, for one, hope this design is iterated upon and will usher in a new age of gadget design to get us out of the boring age of slate designs.