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The era of the smartphone “notch” has arrived. On Wednesday, Google announced Android P — which introduces, among other things, support for iPhone X-style display notches.
Of course, Google isn’t calling it a “notch,” specifically. Instead, the company says that Android P will offer support for edge-to-edge screens equipped with a “display cutout for camera and speaker.” While some Android devices, like the Essential Phone, have previously adopted a similar “notch” design, it’s undoubtedly the iPhone X that popularized the style.
In fact, there’s now a slew of Android manufacturers who are debuting their own devices with iPhone X-style display cutouts, including several that showed off their notch-equipped devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Some of them could be functional, but quite a few seem to be attempts at capitalizing on the iPhone X’s design.
In addition to smaller Chinese manufacturers like Leagoo and ASUS, other higher-profile smartphone companies are rumored to use a notch in their upcoming flagships. That includes LG and Huawei.
Prior to Android P, manufacturers had to customize their versions of the operating system. But now, it seems, the Google-developed OS will ship with that support baked-in. Developers will now be able to simulate a wide range of display cutouts (including “narrow,” “wide,” and “tall” options) so they can know where to avoid placing content within their apps.
Android P also introduces a number of other features, including enhanced notifications, indoor positioning APIs, and other design changes. In the vein of Apple-related features, Android P will also support High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) — a new codec that slashes the size of images in half. Cupertino adopted HEIF in its latest operating system.
The “notch” on the iPhone X is perhaps the device’s most characteristic design detail. Apple gave the iPhone X a notch to house its TrueDepth Camera and to maximize the amount of display real estate. Despite that, the sensor notch hasn’t been without controversy.
Android P is now available for developers to begin testing, though Google warned that the OS is in its early stages and shouldn’t be installed on a user’s daily driver. A firm release date for the operating system is currently unclear.