The smartphone notch is here to stay and there’s nothing we can do about it: There, I said it

iPhone X, Asus Zenfone 5 notch

When the iPhone X launched Android fanboys went to town on the iPhone X’s display notch. I’ll stop talking and let you take a look at these ridiculous (-ly funny?) memes instead. Ive Notch

But if recent reports are to be believed, Android fanboys who shared these jokes might have to swallow their words. Here’s the thing, there are a bevy of no-name Chinese smartphones — like the Noa N10, Leagoo S9, Oukitel U18 — that look lot like the iPhone X and are already available for interested buyers (although, I don’t see why anyone would be interested in a blatant clone). 

Notch steve jobs

Let’s not forget that Asus showcased its new ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z at MWC this year. Let’s not mince any words, the ZenFone 5 is a copy of the iPhone X. However, this is what the Head of Marketing at Asus quoted about the notch to Vlad from The Verge. “Some people will say it’s copying Apple, but we cannot get away from what users want. You have to follow the trends.” At least, he is not beating around the bush. 

Additionally, Evan Blass’ latest P20 leak actually showcases a phone that looks eerily similar to the iPhone X and three cameras on the rear. I trust his leaks, and it doesn’t look good for notch haters. 

Notch P20

But here’s the fact of the matter, I didn’t take the trend seriously until I read the other big news. It is being strongly rumoured that Google’s next version of Android, Android P, will apparently support a notch design. So potentially, if an Android smartphone brand wants to make a phone with a notch, Android P will have an alternate UI design ready in its source code for the hardware engineers to exploit.  

What do we do about the notch?

While these are facts about the notch, I am more concerned about the fact that we have to embrace yet another change in display tech. First it was forcefully forcing tall, full-view displays down our throat by brands, now it is the notch. I did use the iPhone X for a brief period sometime last year, when I reviewed it. I got accustomed to the notch but there’s no denying that it is obtrusive while viewing content. 

But, Apple created the notch to incorporate a sophisticated array of sensors for its FaceID tech. What reasons do the Android manufacturers have? What started out as a stopgap solution until brands found a way to incorporate a front camera with a full-screen display, has now grown into a full blown trend. And honestly, I am super disappointed with that.

Because instead of jumping the gun, the R&D engineers could’ve waited it out to find an alternative solution. For example, take a look Vivo’s Apex phone showcased at MWC. I know it is a chunky concept at the moment, but the engineers have ingeniously found a way to hide the front camera. It pops out of the top panel only when you want to use it. 

Essentially, any design requires patient iterations until you find the right solution that bridges the gap between function and form, without compromising on either. In this scenario, make the bezels thin but don’t include a notch…please. 

But I know my plea is going to fall on deaf ears. Hate the notch all you want, it is here to stay, and there’s not much you or I can do about it.

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?