Saturday, February 23

MOBILE PHONES IN 2018: TO NOTCH OR NOT TO NOTCH

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New trends are coming in pretty fast and are leaving even faster, and the technology is upgrading on a daily basis. Mobile phone developers seem to compete with one another not only in what they develop for us but also what they promise they will deliver. However, certain companies have a tradition of being the leader in a certain mobile phone feature or capability, and they stay true to their word when they promise they will keep bringing us new and improved stuff.

Enter the Notch

The competition is not all that hard, looking at it from a consumer perspective. There are only a few main brands competing at the top, and all of them have their own trademark quality and style, which differs from the rest. It is because of this that I think mobile phones should not even play the notch game, but they just keep doing what they know how to do.

But, when it comes to the question of the infamous Notch, that’s when things get rough… It was hard for me to believe when I first heard of it, that such fuss revolves around this half-an-inch long bar at the top of our screens. Later, I realized that there was a cold war going on I wasn’t aware of. A silent battle for our mobile phone home screens, as the factions which are at war battle for every element on it, every navigation button, and every other element usually found there.

Slowly and stealthily, developers have been sneaking in new solutions for the appearance of the phone’s screen, and its compatibility with the home screen. Now, most of the phones followed Samsung’s lead and they were all shaving bezels down as far as they could, but when Apple iPhone X finally came out, the notch it had was like a nuclear bomb being dropped in the middle of the battlefield.

Derision, or at best disbelief… Those were the reactions at first, when the iPhone X came out, displaying its notch in all its glory. The notch in question was cut into a portion at the top of the front display, and people couldn’t cope with it. Was it a compromise or just a stunt to provoke the public?

But, it was soon discovered that that particular stunt, making a notch cut in the display like that, was a ‘necessary evil’. It allowed Apple to ditch the home button completely, as well as the fingerprint sensor, and fully adopt the face-unlock technology, along with depth sensing even at low light conditions.

Getting used to it

It didn’t take too long for people to get used to it, those who bought the new model with the notch in question. It seemed like a temporary solution to an ongoing problem, but at least it gave the iPhone a distinct look. I guess people realized Apple wouldn’t do it if there was any other solution for the face recognition tech implementation.

And, finally, at the MWC 2018 in Barcelona, it became clear that other manufacturers realized the same thing and followed. It probably helped to realize that Apple isn’t the inventor of the notch at all. It was the Essential Phone which was the first to seek out the all-screen front possibility, but its notch was shrunk down to be as small as possible, to accommodate the front camera. iPhone X still has quite the distinct look.

Notch
Following the Notch’s footsteps

It was not a surprise when smaller brands like Noa, Leagoo, Vinci, and Ulephone followed up on the notch development, but when Zenfone 5, from Asus, unveiled its notch…it was clear that the game was changed forever.

Even the head of global marketing operations at Asus, Marcel Campos, said:

“Some people will say it’s copying Apple, but we cannot get away from what users want. You have to follow the trends.”

Some people would possibly hate me for saying so, but it is official…the notch is a trend. The notch from Asus is 26% smaller, as they’ve boasted. But, since Asus Zenfone 5 is commonly mistaken for an iPhone X all the time, I would think they are a long way from bragging about anything.

Other giants in the biz, like Huawei, simply made a compromise with everyone – they’ve added the notch ‘off’ option. It is a very simple option. It changes the status bar to black, which camouflages the cutout containing the front camera and the speaker. Okay, it is a simple solution, but aren’t those the best ones?

The top status bar will still show notifications it contained before, like the time and battery life, but it will give your phone that seamless look if you hate the notch so much.

To notch or not to notch, that is the question…

It seems that the infamous notch has led to something called the ‘Android Police’, but this is all going a bit overboard, or as that famous MEME says: ‘Well, that escalated quickly’.

The truth is that Huawei made the perfect move and showed everybody how easily you can solve this, what others make out to be an unsolvable problem.

As the dust settles slowly, Google is dealing with the sudden changes with so many user interfaces, and the latest version of Android has the ‘display cutout support’ option included.

However, the developers are still testing out how their apps are interacting with notches, making sure this doesn’t interfere with the display of crucial info.

Certainly, the Notch seems to have stirred up things quite a bit, as we must ask ourselves if the Notch is such an important thing in our society today, what about something else that may rock our boat? Like, for instance, world hunger? Just food for thought…

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