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(Pocket-lint) - We've been following the story of under-display cameras for some time. The first versions of this technology were shown off by Xiaomi and Oppo in 2019, but was only at concept stage and there's been little said since then.

However, Xiaomi filed a patent in China for a phone with an under display front camera in April 2019, but it wasn't until 24 April 2020 that the patent was granted. The patent - discovered by LetsGoDigital - proposes two different configurations with a central position and a top left position for the camera, suggesting that things are still in development for these phones.

To bring this patent to life, LetsGoDigital has also commissioned concept designs to give us a good idea of what a Xiaomi phone might look like with this technology.

The design presented reflects that seen in the patents, similar to what you'd expect from the Xiaomi Mi 10 devices, but with a nice clear display on the front, free from any sort of notch of bezel that you find on current devices.

LetsGoDigitialXiaomi patents image 2

That's what this under display technology aims to achieve - giving you an uninterrupted display so the design looks better overall.

The real crunch point will be whether the quality of under display cameras can match that of current models. With selfies becoming increasingly popular and rivals offering more sophisticated system, Xiaomi will have to ensure that this is a no-compromise approach.

As to when this type of phone might actually launch, we don't yet know. There's been rumours that Nokia are looking at the technology for its next flagship phone, thought to be scheduled for September 2020, so perhaps Xiaomi is looking at getting a phone out before the end of 2020 too.

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At the moment this is just a patent, however, so it might well be the case that we don't see this sort of technology in a real phone until well into 2021.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 6 May 2020.