Are you ready to ’embrace the notch’?

By | 2nd March 2018
Huawei P20 Lite

Last year, Apple launched the iPhone X. It's a device that has plenty of high-end specifications and a lot going for it. Based on Apple's most recent quarterly earnings call, the handset did pretty well for the company, too. It is also one of Apple's most divisive handsets ever, thanks to the design decision that went into the flagship smartphone.

The "notch design" on the iPhone X is distinct. You can say a lot of things about that notch, but it's impossible to get around the fact that the iPhone X is a unique smartphone. At least, it used to be. That design that Apple decided on is now the focus of the entire industry, and, for better or worse, we're going to be looking at a lot more notch designs moving forward.

It started with a Chinese-based company called Leagoo, with their S9 smartphone, but then it got really apparent with the ASUS ZenFone 5. The company got called out for its apparent iPhone X look-alike smartphone, as it should, but the weird part is that ASUS doesn't even mind the comparison. It compared the notch in the ZenFone 5 with the "Fruit phone" at its announcement for the ZenFone 5 after all.

And an ASUS executive even said that the design of the ZenFone 5 is a direct response to what the customer base wants.

That's the confusing part for me, because I'll be honest: I don't know a single person that actually likes the notch design in the iPhone X. I know people who don't mind it, who ignore it, and who have gotten used to it, but no one that tells me they like it. I know I don't like the notch, but it is what it is and I deal with it.

But I don't want the notch design popping up everywhere. Seeing it from a company like Leagoo is one thing, but watching ASUS copy the iPhone X, and then seeing leaks that suggest the upcoming Huawei P20 and even LG might copy in this way is almost laughable. And that's not even talking about the fact that rumors point to Apple shrinking the notch over time, as the implementation of Face ID and the TruthDepth camera improves.

Google saw this coming and we've heard that it's supporting the notch design in Android P, but that just makes it all that much more comical. This is such a strange thing to copy, and not just because the notch is a distinctive feature that immediately identifies a phone as an iPhone (even when it isn't one), but because, despite what ASUS might think, I can't for the life of me think this is what customers want.

A friend of mine, who picked up the Pixel 2 XL last year, and who spoke to me about Android device manufacturers "embracing the notch", said that he hates the notch and he doesn't want to see Google adopt it for the Pixel smartphone lineup this year. I asked him if he'd consider another device, if he grew tired of his daily driver, even if it had the notch design and that warranted a definitive "Not a chance".

I would imagine that this is the standard sentiment towards the notch, and yet, the Android smartphone industry is seeing it all over the place now, and one has to imagine that it's only going to get worse from this point on. The question is, do customers actually want it?

So, I wanted to reach out to you and find out what you think. Because as far as I'm concerned, these companies are just copying Apple to copy them, and that's wildly frustrating. Are you ready to embrace the notch? Are you a fan of that particular design? Or are you hoping your favorite Android manufacturer of choice avoids that bandwagon approach? Let me know!