Essential birthed the notch with the PH-1 and Apple popularized it with the iPhone X, but Asia’s biggest smartphone makers already look ready to kill it and replace it with a less offensive-looking hole cutout in the upper corner.
Samsung teased this “Infinity-O” or “hole punch” camera screen at its developer conference a few weeks ago — the Galaxy S10 might be its first with the display — but China’s Huawei might beat it to market first.
Huawei’s expected to announce the Nova 4 with a front that’s nearly all display on Dec. 3, according to The Verge.
The alleged phone was recently shown off during a live stream for Chinese singer Jackson Lee, per a report from tech blog WinFuture.de
As you can see, there’s indeed no notch positioned at the top center of the phone. Instead, there’s a single hole in the upper left corner for the selfie camera.
Such a screen should push the screen-to-body ratio of phones even higher, but if you look closely, you can still see there’s a thicker “chin” bezel below the screen.
The reason Android phone makers have been unable to shrink this chin is because that’s where the display’s ribbon cable fits.
To date, Apple is the only company that has been able to make the bezels the same thickness on all four sides of its iPhone X, XS, and XS Max. These phones use a flexible display that bends backwards inside of the phone. As a result, the chin is thinner than on Android phones, but this flexible display underside is also more expensive and adds to the higher prices of these models.
The iPhone XR doesn’t have the same flexible display underside, which is why the bezels are thicker than on the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max.
Dec. 3 is only a few days away and we’ll know full details on the Huawei phone itself then. One thing you can probably not expect, though, is U.S. availability.
The Nova 4 will likely not be sold in America, which is the norm for Huawei’s other flagship phones, the excellent P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro. Not that the company can properly sell its phones in the U.S. anyway — the government has essentially banned Huawei phones from being sold by American carriers.
The Trump administration has warned Americans against buying Huawei phones, even though there’s no evidence supporting claims their devices are being used as spy tools by the Chinese government.
The U.S.’s loss, however, is a win for Huawei, which is now the world’s second-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung.
Samsung’s domination might be coming to an end soon as Huawei is aggressively attacking them from all directions. Huawei was the first to put three cameras in a phone with the P20 Pro, beat Samsung to putting an in-display fingerprint sensor in a phone with the Mate 20 Pro, and plans to beat Samsung to launching a foldable phone in early 2019.
The hole-punch camera display would be another way to rub it in Samsung’s face.