Essential Phone PH-1, the smartphone made by Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s new startup, was the first to introduce the concept of a notch on smartphone. It is also the one with a notch that can be said to be pleasing to your eyes.
The notch on Essential Phone is a basically a circle around the front camera while the proximity sensor and microphone are hidden around the frame of the device. The design is unobtrusive but Essential wants to give more options to customize it. With the release of Android 8.1 build 141, Essential Phone now gets an option to customize the notch.
The update which brings the latest version of Android and the April Security patch includes a new setting called “Essential notch settings” that allows its users to customize the use of the notch area on the smartphone. It is accessible from Settings > System > Developer Options > Essential notch settings. There is now three different options including what is called as “Essential recommended” and it obviously applies the setting that the company wants everyone to use.
Other options include “Don’t use notch are in landscape” which means the smartphone will not show any image or text under the notch when the phone is held in landscape mode. With this setting enabled, the area under the notch will never be used when the phone is held horizontally. The third and the last option is “Always use notch area” which is self-explanatory.
Essential Phone users can also customize the notch on individual apps. There is an option to allow certain video streaming apps to stretch their video content to the edge of the screen and at the same time, the settings can be tweaked to prevent text based apps from extending all the way to the edge of the display. This is a smart option since it will prevent the apps from cutting off the text displayed by certain apps.
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Essential Phone, despite a bold design, flagship design and material, the company failed to ship the device in volume. According to IDC, it shipped less than 90,000 units last year and a large part of the reason could be its mediocre camera. Essential has said that it will improve the camera with the launch of second-generation model likely to debut in the second half of 2018.