Huawei has pursued the idea of the notch on many of its smartphones in 2018, including its flagship Huawei P20 Pro and Honor 10 devices, as well as its budget devices including the Honor 9N that is due to launch next week. However, a new report by Korean site ETNews suggests that the Chinese smartphone maker could be planning an entirely new approach to design, which involves a display hole for the camera.
Diagrams obtained by ETNews show plans to have the screen stretch till the top of the phone, with a much narrower top strip that will house the earpiece and sensors. The front camera, which typically needs much more space and therefore needs the notch will be housed within the screen space, peeking through a hole in the screen. While this would seem like a solution to the notch, it’s unclear how the operating system and apps would interact with a small portion of the display that is effectively missing.
Currently, the presence of the notch doesn’t quite create as big a hurdle for the operating system, as apps can be tuned to function in the rectangular space below the notch. The idea of a display hole comes close to the implementation of the notch on the Essential PH-1, which has a small notch. However, the cutout is in a position that it can be read as a notch by the phone. How Huawei implements a display hole, or indeed if it even does so, is entirely speculative for now.
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While the notch is one way to allow phone manufacturers to have screens that stretch all the way till the top of the phone, it isn’t the most elegant solution to the issue. Smartphone makers such as Vivo and Oppo have used the concept of motorized parts to offer a solution, along with under-display earpieces. For this year though, we’re unlikely to see the notch go away.