Google to Android Phone Makers: Don't Go Crazy With the Notches

Huawei is reportedly planning to release a phone with a notch-like hole in the display panel that would house the front-facing camera.

"Devices may only have up to one cutout on each short edge of the device". Basically, it's the new Coke of Android screens. They include limits on notches, or "cutouts", and specifications on where they can exist on the device. The company explained how it had made it easier for developers to utilize the cutout area efficiently in Android P, and also encouraged them to test their apps using an Android P device or the Android Emulator before publication.

Google did say that on devices running Android 8.1 or earlier, users can decide to "extend a letterboxed fullscreen or landscape app into the cutout area".

It was always unlikely, but this rules out the triple-notched Android phone you've all been dreading. The devices we have seen with notched displays so far only have one and some manufacturers have now started pushing the envelope on smartphone design to get rid of the notch altogether.

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In portrait orientation, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout. Now for the sort of people who can't stand notches, two cutouts probably already sounds like a lot, but at least Google is putting a limit on how much nonsense Android will support.

Even before Android P was officially announced, we knew that Google was planning on including notch support for Android devices this year.

What this means is that there are four potential screen types envisioned by Google: those without a notch, those with a notch at the top, those with a notch at the bottom, and those with notches at the top and the bottom.

Google has rolled out guidelines to help OEMs and app creators develop for smartphones with display notches. I'm quite certain that somewhere there's an Android phone maker experimenting with a double top notch just so their phone will be different. But it also underscores the biggest problem with Android phones: unnecessary differentiation.

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