Ever since Apple popularized the ‘notch’ with last year’s iPhone X, the display indentation has become the hottest trend in the mobile industry. Just about every third smartphone launched today comes with a notched display, and OEMs go the extra mile to justify that design decision. However, there’s no denying the fact that notches are bad. They look unsightly on flagships, and they look even worse on mid-rangers. That said, what if you could have a smartphone with four tiny notches, one at each corner of the display? It seems that could become a reality very soon.
Spotted by LetsGoDigital, a new patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) details the concept of a ‘quad-notch’. As the name implies, the design splits the big notch (found on most smartphones these days) into four small notches, placing one at each corner of the display.
As noted by an Android Headlines report, the patent, filed by an inventor named Lothar Pantel and assigned to Inodyn NewMedia GmbH, doesn’t really restrict the ‘quad-notch’ system to a smartphone display. Instead, it details several ways of arranging the components usually placed in a notch (sensors, LED flash units, cameras) in the four small notches of differing sizes, based on the size of the component.
Interestingly, the patent goes even further, talking about a method which would automatically cause UI elements like logos and text to fit within the actual display area, in a way that looks cohesive with the notches.
While the whole ‘quad-notch’ approach seems interesting, to say the least, the concept of small circular notch isn’t new. The Essential Phone comes with a rounded notch at center of its display’s top edge, and it looks much better than the wide notch of the iPhone X (and its zillion Android-powered copycats). The new ‘waterdrop’ notch, found on smartphones like Vivo V11 Pro and the newly-launched OnePlus 6T, are also significantly smaller and non-obtrusive than regular notches.
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All said, it’s way too early to say whether a device with a ‘quad-notch’ display would ever be a thing, since that itself would depend on the above-mentioned patent being granted.