A couple of months ago, Xiaomi showcased its prototype for a smartphone with an under-the-display front camera. The company have since been experimenting with other front-camera designs.
Back in March 2018, Beijing Xiaomi Mobile Software applied for a patent for a series of smartphones with a punch-hole front camera. On the 5th July 2019, the patent was approved by WIPO.
The patent includes 19 sketches; all including a double front camera, placed at the top in the middle, left or right corner. “Sensors” and “structured light” features are also described, which suggests that a 3D face sensor is also in the works.
It will be interesting to see how the company will take into account well-known problems with punch-hole camera design, and build on existing technology. Samsung, for example, has received criticism from companies like Huawei; who believe their camera cuts through all the layers of the screen except the last, resulting in a weakened display, prone to cracking and light leakage.
You can find the Xiaomi design patent here.