It is easy to argue that the next major design change to smartphone design involves removing the front camera and hiding it under the display itself. OnePlus is also interested in the idea as it submitted a patent that shows a phone with an under screen front camera system along with a hidden back camera system.
OPPO first showcased their concept device with an under-screen front camera back in June 2019 at the MWC Shanghai event. The device utilised customised camera modules and other technologies to overcome the drawbacks of placing the sensor under the front display.
From the patent filed by OnePlus is seems as though they too are interested in a future where the front camera is placed under the display. In the patent, OnePlus shows a mobile device with a borderless screen, with no notch and no pop up camera. It is a reasonable assumption that OnePlus is looking to use an under-screen camera module then.
Another design that was noted was a hidden rear camera system shown in more device drawings. It does not look like it was using OnePlus’s electrochromic display technology that was showcased in the OnePlus Concept One. Instead, the rear camera are hidden by what looks like plastic flap that would mechanically cover the rear cameras.
Considering these are only patents for future devices, we can assume that these will take a lot of time until it appears on real OnePlus products. For this year though, the rumour mill for the OnePlus 8 series has already picked up steam, pointing to a device with a 120Hz display and triple rear camera module.