One of the most dominant features that we saw in the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the shift of a lot of smartphone brands to the wider screen aspect ratio. Many of them stuck with the standard 18:9 aspect ratio (LG, Xiaomi, Sony, OPPO, VIVO) with a few exceptions (Samsung uses 18.5:9, iPhone X has a 19.5:9 and the new Zenfone 5 has 19:9).
Another controversial trend is the direction to leave a notch on the upper corner of the smartphone display.
The notch originally appeared in the Essential phone (contrary to common belief that it was the iPhone X that started it) back in May 30, 2017 and popularized by Apple’s announcement of the iPhone X in September 12, 2017.
Come to think of it, the LG V10 and V20 also had a notch though it’s not in the middle but on the left side of the secondary display.
OPPO even filed for a patent on the notch in China much earlier, in Janaury 9, 2017.
A triangular notch, circular notch and rectangular notch as filed by OPPO in January 2017.
So almost everyone who revealed a smartphone in MWC has a notch — Asus, LG, Leagoo, Doogee, Ulefone. That’s on top of the leaked photos of the Huawei P20 and OPPO R15 that will also have notches.
Why the fascination with notches?
It’s one way to reduce the size of the bezels and maximize display size without increasing the dimensions. Likewise, there’s no need to re-orient the essential components and sensors that are supposed to be placed in that corner of the phone.
The only compromise would be the aesthetics of the display. So, while almost everyone is thinking of going the notch way, they waited a while and see how people would react to the notch on the iPhone X. In a way, Apple normalized the notch. And bravely. Just like the headphone jack.
It is safe to say that we will see more of this in 2018.