Samsung's bizarre camera phone concept could change everything

It's fair to say the 'notch' has its fair share of detractors. The design first appeared on Apple's iPhone X in 2017, and quickly achieved ubiquity across the smartphone market. But if you're one of the many who sees the notch as an unseemly blight on supposedly 'edge-to-edge' displays, Samsung's bizarre new invention could be music to your eyes.

Leaked patent filings have revealed that the company is working on a smartphone with an unusual-looking rotating pop-up camera. Pop-up smartphone cameras are nothing new – it's the rotating part that's curious here, and the strange new invention could end up seriously disrupting our best camera phones list. 

Samsung camera concept

A new 3D render based on Samsung's parent filing (Image credit: Content Creator )

The patent, uncovered by Let's Go Digital, reveals a smartphone whose back camera and front camera are the same thing. Confused? Basically, the back camera is able to pop up, rotate and face forwards. Some of our best budget camera phones feature pop-up front cameras, but these are usually separate entities to the back camera.

Samsung patent filing

Samsung's intriguing new patent filing  (Image credit: Samsung/Let's Go Digital)

The obvious benefit of pop-up cameras is that they remove the need for a notch, making an actual all-screen design possible. But there are also drawbacks, most notably that they're often delicate – anything that adds more moving parts to a design also adds greater risk of said design breaking.

While it remains to be seen how durable Samsung's rotating design will be (pop-up + rotation = moving parts galore), it could be hugely exciting news for creatives, or anyone who simply takes a lot of selfies (we're not here to judge). Smartphone back cameras are generally much more advanced than the selfie camera, and anything that removes the need for a dedicated front camera ought to result in a lighter and thinner device.

Samsung phone concept

Could Samsung's concept finally make pop-up cameras cool? (Image credit: Content Creator)

Of course, like all patent filings, time will tell whether Samsung's idea ever becomes a reality. But judging by the amount of weird and wonderful smartphone inventions emerging right now ('rollable' phones, 'crawling' chargers), we wouldn't be surprised to see it announced in the near future. The only question is what to call a pop-up, rotating camera. Potating? Protating? Pop'n'spin? We'll leave that one to Samsung. 

Still, you don't have to wait to get your hands on a brilliant phone from Samsung – the Galaxy S21 Ultra is currently top of our best smartphones list, thanks to its amazing (albeit entirely static) camera setup. Check out today's best deals below.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).