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Slashdot Asks: Should Android OEMs Adopt the iPhone's Notch? 240

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Google was currently working on a "dramatic redesign" of its Android OS -- one that embraces the "notch" made popular by the iPhone X. A couple weeks after that report was published, Mobile World Congress was happening, and the biggest trend among Android OEMs was the introduction of a notch in their smartphones. The Verge's Vlad Savov argues that Android smartphone manufacturers are straight up copying the iPhone's design with "more speed and cynicism" than ever before.

Should Android original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) adopt the iPhone's display notch? A display notch can offer a greater screen-to-body ratio, for example, but lower overall aesthetic value. It can also create a headache for developers who need to update their apps to account for the notch that eats into the actual display area. What are your thoughts on display notches? Should Android OEMs adopt the iPhone X's display notch in their devices?

If you're not a fan of notches for aesthetic reasons, you may like the solution that OnePlus has come up with. The company will soon be launching their notch-equipped OnePlus 6 smartphone, but will allow OnePlus 6 owners to "hide" the device's notch via software. Users will have the option to black out the background of the notifications and status bar if they so desire.
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Slashdot Asks: Should Android OEMs Adopt the iPhone's Notch?

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  • Popular? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdharm ( 1667825 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:04AM (#56386065)
    ...the "notch" made popular by the iPhone X.

    Really? "Popular" seems a bit of a stretch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But it was made _cheap_ by the iPhone X.

      Apple were predicting far higher sales for the iPhone X than happened, and Samsung were geared up to make notched displays to meet that demand. Except the demand never came and now Samsung need to find other ways to offload the notched screens, or take a hit.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "Really? "Popular" seems a bit of a stretch."

      The OP must figure that two wrongs make a right - the Essential Phone had a notch before the iPhone.
    • Re:Popular? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @10:12AM (#56386481)

      I wouldn't call the Notch popular. It was a design decision. There is a bunch of hardware Apple wanted to put on top of the screen. Dot Projector, Speaker, and Camera. That equipment didn't fill up the whole top of the display, So apple decided to extend the screen around the free spots. To put mostly the notification information, vs the normal title bar which normally has a lot of white/black space.

        The iPhone X is my primary phone, but I have no real love for it. It is just there, If other makers do not need the notch because their hardware they want to cram up top, is thinner, then all the better. While I don't hate the notch either, some Applications it does get in the way, and Most programs are built around the idea of a rectangle screen.

      Should Android phones put in the notch? It depends if they need it or not. The Galaxy S9 doesn't, and it is a nice looking phone, it doesn't look like a lot of screen space is wasted with bevels or chins. But it is a tall phone, compared to the iPhone. So if Samsung wanted most of the same screen space and a little shorter, then they may want to use a notch in its design.

      The notches popularity is like hinges on Laptops. Some times they are out of the way and not visible, (usually limiting the screen rotation area) some time they are just sticking out there getting caught on strings in your bag. But you laptop screen and flip 180 degrees. They are not there because of a deep love in hinges, but the fact it is a practical aspect of the device.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        Does the title bar really have that much space though?

        I guess it depends on the phone size, but mine fits 14 things.

        Currently, I have 12. PayPal, email, text, voicemail, photo, podcast I'm listening to, pay store, Bluetooth status, vibrate, wifi status, battery (the time is there too).

        Sure, I'm deleting a few of those right now, but I often have all of the statuses (5), 2 emails, what I'm listening to, Facebook. That's 9 of the 12 already. The notch is a bad design for my usage, and I bet some people get ev

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Indeed, because so far I've yet to see an iPhone X in the wild.
      Maybe next trip to the US where they do seem to sell.

      I prefer what was done on the OnePlus3, the fingerprint sensor doubles as the 'return to desktop' and left and right of it are sensitive areas working as the 'return' and 'list' buttons that would otherwise litter the screen.
    • Everyone wants invisible transparent sensors and cameras with a wall-to-wall display.

      Not going to happen, so the notch is a compromise. I doubt Apple likes it either, but it is one of those laws-of-physics things you have to deal with.

      • the notch is a compromise. I doubt Apple likes it either, but it is one of those laws-of-physics things you have to deal with.

        [looks hard at Galaxy S9]

        Nope. Don't have to deal with it. Not a law of physics.

        The notch is just really stupid design.

    • The notch is popular, based on how many are adopting it. Not the phone.
    • by MouseR ( 3264 )

      No one likes the #$%?&* notch. It was a terrible headache to update our apps. It's stupid. Doesn't serve a single purpose.
      No one cares for round corners either.
      FTS. Ives needs to take a long vacation.

      • Re:Popular? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Thursday April 05, 2018 @12:51PM (#56387677) Journal
        The notch would have been fine if it were reserved for system use only. You wouldn't have had to update your apps and you even would have gained some vertical space in landscape mode because notifications could have stayed in the notch, nullifying the need for a notification bar. That's where apple screwed up.

        Personally, I like the look of the iPhone X and it would have been my next phone (instead of the S9 Plus I upgraded to) if they'd implemented it that way; but it just gets in the way for watching videos or viewing photos, which are two things I do a lot of on my phone, which is what killed the iPX for me.
    • Re:Popular? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cahuenga ( 3493791 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @11:46AM (#56387161)
      the "notch" made popular by every automobile windshield produced in the last 40 years

      https://www.carid.com/images/p... [carid.com]
  • No. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermat1313 ( 927331 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:11AM (#56386097)
    I'm not a fan of the notch. It's cumbersome, ugly, and requires application designers to make some weird compromises to make it work. All this for the holy grail of small bezels. I'd rather wait until they find ways to put the camera and other sensor under the screen.
    • by Koreantoast ( 527520 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:17AM (#56386137)
      Agreed. If you want to be even more cynical, the notch creates a much more unique screen that adds just one more headache to developers who want to build applications for more than one operating system.
    • Re:No. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:28AM (#56386217)

      UNder the screen??!! Then I couldn't put tape over the camera! The Deep State Democrats are spying on us all at the behest of the Catholic Church (Thanks Kennedys!).

      Of course the Catholics are working for the Girl Scouts of America. I tell you those girls are remarkable! They have put and kept Putin in charge of Russia for years!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I saw F the small bezels completely. I hate edge-to-edge screens as I have to hold the phone in a funky way to prevent from accidentally touching things near the edge of the screen.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The camera and proximity sensor are the only things that need to be on the front really. Fingerprint sensor on the back. Speakers on the bottom.

      I'd prefer a small bezel with camera, proximity sensor, notification LED and earpiece at the top. Functionality over style.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      I wonder more about the cost of the screen - knowing nothing about LCD manufacturing wouldn't the complexity of a weird shaped screen increase the cost in a non-trivial way?
      • by Teun ( 17872 )
        We read Apple is making a non-trivial profit on these phones so spending a few bucks more on the manufacturing should not be a great drain.
        Besides, those that are already in the Apple garden would pay regardless.
    • Just... don't see the why?

      Smarphone innovation is already stagnated, because everyone is blindly copying Apple (even Apple itself)

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guyle ( 79593 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:12AM (#56386107)
    I do not see a need for this whatsoever. Leave my screen nice and rectangular, thank you very much. Should we start putting notches on laptop screens where the webcam is next?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please don't suggest this...they may take you seriously.

    • Should we start putting notches on laptop screens where the webcam is taped over next?

      Fixed that for you.

    • No, just do what Dell did, and stick it on the bottom bezel so it looks up your nose.

      ......seriously......they did that.

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:13AM (#56386115)

    All I care about is if I can hold the phone at the sides without my hands triggering the touch screen. If it helps them maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio then it's fine, it's hidden by a black status bar anyway. If they want a notch because they're looking to expand the screen vertically to 18:9 then no thanks. I don't like the candy bar form factor.

    • If it helps them maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio then it's fine, it's hidden by a black status bar anyway.

      Seems like 16:9 video content wouldn't look so good, though.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:14AM (#56386121)

    A display notch can offer a greater screen-to-body ratio, for example, but lower overall aesthetic value.

    Aesthetics are a matter of personal taste. I can see people liking or hating the notch and you can't say they are wrong either way. There is no objective way to judge aesthetics. Conceivably the notch has some potential functional value though it seems a lot of trouble for some pretty minimal gains even under the best of circumstances. I have an iPhone X (spare the snark - it works for me) and I'm utterly indifferent to the notch. It doesn't bother me but I don't find it particularly useful either. Frankly it seems mostly like a mis-feature and a waste of money.

    All this sturm and drang about notches really seems to be missing the point. It's an answer to a problem nobody has. What I want them to do is make a phone with a better battery life. They could double the thickness of all but the biggest phones and I would not care. A thicker phone would also enable them to put a better camera into the phone which has value to me. I'd also like someone to really get seamless cloud integration and device and document sharing right because that is still a hot mess whether you are talking about Android, iOS or any other system. You'd think Apple could figure it out since they control their platform the tightest but they always seem to only partially solve the problems.

    • It's an answer to a problem nobody has. What I want them to do is make a phone with a better battery life. They could double the thickness of all but the biggest phones and I would not care.

      Just about every phone designer is missing the point. Phones have been thin enough for a long time now. They have had small enough bezels for years. Most consumers don't care about that, but phone developers seem to have this holy grail of getting the ultimately slim phone with no bezel instead of solving the one problem that bothers consumers the most. Battery life.

      • It's all about what looks best on that vendor stand though (Ohh this one is even thinner!). That's the problem. It's like how the music industry is shit because everyone follows the simplest methods for making a sale (catchy beat) rather than following the difficult path of actually making good music.
      • First thing I get after purchasing a phone is the highest capacity decent battery case I can find for it.

        ZeroLemon case on my current phone (Nexus 6P) turns it into a brick, but I can recharge it several times on the fly should Iover use or just forget to charge overnight.

        I would rather carry a brick than run out of juice. A phone without power is a paperweight. As noted phones are already small enough, thin enough, and have enough screen. What they don't have is anywhere near enough battery life.

    • All this sturm and drang about notches really seems to be missing the point. It's an answer to a problem nobody has. What I want them to do is make a phone with a better battery life. They could double the thickness of all but the biggest phones and I would not care. A thicker phone would also enable them to put a better camera into the phone which has value to me.

      I'm with you. Thicker, bigger battery, better camera.

      The rest of my wish list:

      • Enough bezel to prevent accidental touches.
      • Grippy sides.
      • Replaceable battery.
      • Headphone jack.
      • 128 GB or more of onboard storage without gouging on price, so I can forego the memory card slot.
      • NO NOTCH!
    • There is no objective way to judge aesthetics.

      Yes, there is. Symmetry is one way to judge aesthetics.

      Another way is double-blind group surveys.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 )

        Yes, there is. Symmetry is one way to judge aesthetics.

        That assumes greater symmetry = greater aesthetics which is not a reliable relationship for all viewers and/or circumstances. Your opinion of the beauty of symmetry can easily differ from mine. There is no reliably objective way to evaluate anything aesthetically at the single person level. Even at a group level all you can say is what percentage of people find something aesthetically pleasing but that's not objective, it's just a compilation of individual opinions.

        Another way is double-blind group surveys.

        Again, beauty is in the eye of the beho

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:16AM (#56386129)
    What the fuck is a "notch" on an iPhone?
  • by ausekilis ( 1513635 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:18AM (#56386153)

    NO.

    It's really sad that since there isn't any real innovation happening with phones and the best we can come up with is a debate over whether we want some near unusable screen space on either side on the top of our phones.

    What about bluetooth that doesn't drop out? Better call quality and consistent connections? Better security and privacy settings? Better battery life? More options for storage? Or how about a phone that will survive falling from a nightstand and I don't need to buy a stronger case for?

    Instead we are paying $1k for a "flagship" phone that doesn't really do much more than that $300 phone 4 years ago.

    • None of those things make the phone look better on the vendor stand.
    • It's really sad that since there isn't any real innovation happening with phones and the best we can come up with is a debate over whether we want some near unusable screen space on either side on the top of our phones.

      Truth.

      "Notch" is really the wrong way to think about it. It's really a pair of small, rectangular, nearly-useless "ear" displays, stuck to the top of the usable display. What are developers supposed to do with them, when many devices won't have them?

    • No no no, you're missing the key purpose of the notch: to make the phone visibly different from last year's model, allowing the in crowd to continue feeling superior to the plebs using old or cheap phones. Functionality doesn't matter, it's all about image.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Instead we are paying $1k for a "flagship" phone that doesn't really do much more than that $300 phone 4 years ago.

      Speak for yourself. I personally think somebody's got to be a little thick to pay $1000 for a cell phone, unless it does something that makes that much an impact on their lives in some meaningful way. From what I can tell, most people use their phones primarily as entertainment devices.
    • NO.

      I was thinking about Betteridge's Law. However, "no" just doesn't cut it in this case.

      F**K NO!

      HELL NO!

  • by noc007 ( 633443 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:23AM (#56386189)

    The Essential Android Phone came out with a notch before the iPhone X. Personally, I just see this as a poor compromise to the phone designers drive to marketing bezzle-less designs that people may think they like. I am fine with a bezzle and prefer a little bit of space to accommodate the palm of my hand hanging over.

  • Can it? Can it? No, I didn't think so. THAT is what Android makers need to introduce - a notch that can talk back to you when you talk to it. Don't immitate - innovate!
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Make the notch more round, like the Essential's. Then emphasize the camera a bit more, perhaps with a gray ring around it. Then make the phone talk with a male voice and add a red LED in the camera assembly. Yeah, I think there's no way this could possibly go wrong.
  • I wouldn't buy an iPhone X for that silly notch.

    Wouldn't buy an android for the same reason.

  • ...phone manufacturers to use up valuable screen real estate. Android makers are thinking, "Hey Apple convinced users to pay $1000 for a new phone and not get 100% of the screen (3.6%) is lost due to the notch."

       

  • Hell, no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:29AM (#56386225)

    You know what? I don't mind a bit of top and bottom bezel. If anything, you could even go a bit taller.

    You know why? Because it leaves room for some proper dual front speakers.

    Fuck this "less bezel" and "thinner" bullshit that disappears as soon as we stick the phone in a proper case; give us functionality improvements.

    • Plus, the thinner the bezel, the more likely the edge of the glass will crack when you drop the phone. Of course, Apple sees easily broken phones as a revenue source, so they are making the whole case out of glass now.
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )

      Because it leaves room for some proper dual front speakers.

      Yes, this would be an actual thing I want. In addition to Jack, FM radio, SD card slot, removable battery, non-slippery sides and back...

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @09:38AM (#56386289) Homepage Journal

    Why has Apple gone off the rails, and why haven't Android phone makers noticed and stopped copying them?

    I was never impressed by the iPhone, but can understand why people were and certainly appreciate many technologies the iPhone popularized. However, the last few years have been completely absurd. The iPhone has lost its headphone jack, there's no good reason for the notch, and it still doesn't follow accepted industry standards even though now there's no reason for it not to - USB C in particular.

    What has happened to Apple? Steve Jobs' departure should have been an opportunity to throw out the less optimal things Apple was doing solely because Jobs was insisting on it: instead, they seem to have thrown out Jobs' obsessions with elegance and simplicity and adopted his very worst quirks.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Silicon Valley circle jerk - just look at Google dropping the headphone jack.
  • Obviously, the ones who want to mimic the iphone design as much as possible probably should.

    On the other hand, plenty of others already have good designs with "zero" or near-zero bezel, or with a wider bezel that accommodates a front-facing camera without making the screen area weird.

  • I mean I don't even approve of rounded corners, so you can imagine what I think of a non-convex polygon as a screen shape...

    • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

      Agreed. I bought a Samsung S8+ because it was the best phone available that met most of my wants in a phone. There are 3 things I really don't like about it, though:
      - rounded corners on the screen - on some apps I lose information. You gain looks and lose functionality. And I don't like the look. Give me 90 degree corners!

      - non-flat screen - why? Why can't I have a choice of a flat screen? Why do have to have this 2.5D crappy screen with rolling rounded edges the mess with my eyes at the edges of the

      • I too am puzzled why they don't make phone screens with the same exact resolution of the videos most people watch. A UHD resolution screen would also be awesome for popping into VR goggles.
  • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

    No, please! I hate that notch. Stupidest design decision ever, imho.

    If you need space for stuff up there, put in a thicker bezel, and leave my screen fully rectangular. (preferably 16:9 too -- I really don't like that 18:9 on my Samsung).

    For me, the notch is a major reason to not buy a phone (along with the lack of a headphone connector -- I switched from Google's own phone and bought a Samsung, having used Nexus devices for years, specifically because of the lack of headphone connector).

    I'm sure I'm not

  • I don't like the notch and don't see the point. If your sensors need space, move them out of the screen. Obvious, isn't it?

    I do get rounded cornsers - to an extent. If people insist on rounded corners on their case and designers insist on covering as much sceenspace as fittingly as possible - more power to them. I also find rounded corners esthetically pleasing. But then again, that's more personal taste than a law.

    Bottom line: The Pixel 2 XL does just fine with rounded corners but without any notch. Do it

  • Should Android OEMs Adopt the DESIGN WORKAROUND needed by the iPhone?

    No. Fuck off with this notch bullshit.
  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Thursday April 05, 2018 @10:24AM (#56386559) Homepage

    This is a really good question! Should I paint my house red? My neighbor a few houses down painted their house a bright red. It used to be sort of grey, but it's kind of a bright red now. It looks really nice, and updated what had been a "tired"-looking house and turned it into something eye catching, in a good way.

    So I'm asking Slashdot: Should I paint my house red?

    This is a design decision. Apple decided to include a notch in their new iPhone. Now the phone stands out a bit more against the competition. As smartphone makers generally drifted to the same "glass brick" design (because it makes a lot of sense for what it is) Apple found a new way to identify "that's an iPhone" through a design choice. Now when you see a white smartphone, you can guess what make it is - if it has a notch, it's a new iPhone.

    I personally don't like the notch. I use Android, so I haven't used a notch. But I just don't like how it looks. It looks like Apple ran out of room with the phone, and just stuck the camera inside the display.

    Maybe some Android phones will copy the notch, just like Android phones started to look more like iPhones in other ways. But I hope they don't.

    • Reminiscent of what my parents used to ask me: "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" No, you don't need to copy everything Apple does, especially when they do something stupid that doesn't sell well! At this point, Apple is falling farther and farther behind in innovation, and Samsung and others are putting out phones with better price/performance. If FaceTime was available on Android, there would be no reason to buy an iPhone. And by the way, Apple facial recognition i
  • Putting a hole in the screen to give a "larger screen size" is a fool's errand, since viewing most video or pictures will require the user to reduced the window size so it doesn't have a hole in it. Want a front-facing camera that doesn't reduce the screen size? Then make a pop-up camera, morons!
  • The notch was a solution in search of a problem. The fact that a sizeable number of people people now think (or at least are willing to pretend) that a screen with a couple of weird looking horns on the end somehow looks better than a rectangular screen that's a bit narrower reminds me a lot of middle school dress fads.

  • I think Android OEMs should stop copying Apple, period, and start inventing new and wonderful things on their own. That’s how competition makes things better for us. Copying just cheapens the original effort.
  • Seriously, a "notch"? I think they're run out of ideas so they're just coming up with stuff for the sake of being different.
      Anyone who would care about a "notch" so much that it affects their decision of which phone to buy needs to get a life.

    What's next, curved or foldable displays? (yes, I know, that is what's next)

    It would be nice if phone makers focused on things that matter, like privacy and battery life.

  • At best, the notch is a temporary fix, at worst it is an abominably poor design. Developers have better things to do with their time than to accommodate the notch, only to have to remove that accommodation a few years from now when better solutions to the notch arise.
  • I don't want to read Sl____ot with a notch.

  • Essential phone was launched in May 2017 before the iPhone X. It has a notch. It runs Android.

    Apple may have garnered all the press but it's not something they "invented". Nor is it especially something worth immitating though clearly some other handset makers want to make use of it to make the display larger.

  • Besides the "me too" copying which is distasteful, the notch and why it implies has many disadvantages.

    It looks ugly, unless you reserve the area on each side of the notch to notifications so that the apps and pictures do not have access to it. That is the only condition that would make it acceptable to me.

    Even though, having a full screen display impose other issues:

    1. It is difficult to pick up the phone without touching the touch sensitive area, or as Apple recommends the edges of the screen have to
  • OMG, enough about "The Notch" already! It's an insignificant sliver of the screen!
  • So, why are Android phone manufacturers even considering taking this route? So they can look like an iPhone X?

    Thought all things Apple were bad. I am SOOOOOO confused.

  • Oh goody (Score:5, Funny)

    by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@[ ]texas.com ['via' in gap]> on Thursday April 05, 2018 @11:35AM (#56387055) Homepage
    This is like a 2-for-1, it invokes Betteridge's Law of Headlines as well as the knee-jerk reaction of the Slashdot crowd to any sort of design change Apple makes at all. If only we could rope in Bitcoin somehow it would be like the holy trinity of triggers.
  • I'm sure I'm not the only one who has an Android phone because I hate Apple. I didn't get Android because I like Google nosing through my stuff.

    If they copy Apple stuff that I hate, I might as well get an Apple and cut Google out.

  • People amazingly find it acceptable. Apple should celebrate that, and not push their luck by pretending it's a good thing or that it doesn't lower the value of their product. It does make the phone worth less and makes it so that people are willing to pay less for it, but the success here is it's only slightly less. Apparently people aren't too angry about it.

    If Samsung thinks they're jumping on a popularity or fashion bandwagon, they have been conned and it's time to admit that Apple has finally outsmarte

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