Last year, Apple introduced us to a phenomenon we love to hate, the notch on the phone. Android companies did what they always do, they mocked it at first then they embraced it and tried to justify why it is there on the phone. And frankly, more than the notch, the attempts to explain the existence of the notch were ugly. Although the tables are now turning and the same companies which campaigned for the notch are trying to get rid of it.
First of all, let's take Vivo. The Chinese company introduced the V9 in March with the notch. Now a few months later, it presented Vivo Nex to the world. The approach to making an all screen phone was really interesting. Vivo left no sensors on the front panel. And to incorporate the front camera it chose to slide out the assembly out of the phone chassis like a periscope.
The phone surprisingly has no face unlock mechanism. And to compensate that, Vivo has included an under the display fingerprint sensor. The company claims that the sensing area is bigger than its previous phone with the same technology X21. It also is a bit speedier to unlock. Of course, there are concerns around the sturdiness of the camera assembly which pops out. Although Vivo says that if the phone is falling down, the camera will retract into the body. I am sure the YouTubers will put that to the test.
Vivo's cousin company OPPO has found another interesting solution in a product called Find X. Instead of popping out a camera module it is automatically sliding out a portion of the phone. It has introduced specialised motors in the chassis so the sliding is smooth and quick. It is interesting that both front and rear cameras are in the hidden assembly. Unlike Vivo, OPPO has opted for a face unlock mechanism to unlock the phone. Here comes the interesting bit. The sensors are also hidden with the front camera. So every time you need to unlock the phone, the sensor plus camera slides out. And that's a lot of movement in a lifetime of a phone. OPPO better be sure that it will not stop working in the middle of the day after a couple of months.
Xiaomi, the company which kind of started the whole all-screen parade with Mi Mix is trying to fit more screen in the upcoming Mix 3 as well. Reports suggest that the Chinese giant might opt for a pop-up camera as well.
This is very interesting as just a few weeks ago the company unveiled Mi 8 and Mi 8 SE which were almost the carbon copy of iPhone X's design. So no one is sure at the moment if Xiaomi will continue with the notch in future iterations of the phone.
Let's admit it, even though the notch has its function on the iPhone we'd much rather not have it. I am sure Apple and other companies might have thought about an all screen phone. However, at the moment, due to the nature of the front sensors they might not have any answers. So, the notch is a stop-gap solution. As we are seeing already that the efforts are being made to remove it. The current crop barely commercial and high priced. So we need to wait till these solutions become mainstream. Maybe next year we might see more phones like these. But let's take a moment and appreciate these companies for making the effort to pluck out the notch.