The next version of Android could be mere weeks away at this point, although we still don’t know what the ‘P’ stands for. Nonetheless, we could find out soon enough, and even see stable versions of the software on some phones in August itself. We already know that Android P is expected to offer official operating system-level support for the display notch – also known as a cutout – as well. But the latest report admittedly adds some humor to that news.
According to the Android Developers Blog, Google will be mandating certain requirements for app compatibility on devices, that all smartphone makers on the Android program will have to adhere to. One of these is a limit on the number of display cutouts; Android P will allow a maximum of two cutouts with only one allowed per side (top or bottom). Cutouts on the side won’t be permitted.
The point of this whole exercise is so that apps don’t have trouble in displaying. Currently, apps tend to ignore the notch area on smartphones as far as the matter on display is concerned, which means that potentially useful data could be on screen, but simply hidden under the notch. Manufacturers have found workarounds, including forcing many apps to display entirely under the notch, leaving that zone only for system information and notification icons. Official support would make it possible for apps to register that a part of the screen is ‘cut out’ and display accordingly.
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All of this is odd because we have yet to see a smartphone that has more than one notch, but it isn’t an entirely unimaginable thing. Smartphone makers could go that way in the future, leading to smartphones that are filled with entirely unnecessary notches. It’s also worth noting that this limit won’t actually stop some ‘renegade’ brands from building phones with three or more notches, considering the open-source nature of the Android platform.