Samsung has stood as the major holdout in a year when seemingly every other smartphone maker moved to releasing displays with a notch cutout. But at the company’s developer conference today, Samsung confirmed that it’s soon going to join in on the trend. A slide during the keynote showed several notch designs that are almost certainly coming to Samsung-branded devices in 2019 and beyond.
Hassan Anjum, a director of product marketing at Samsung, took the stage to highlight Samsung’s previous breakthroughs in reducing bezels and maximizing display size year after year. “We’re going to keep going. The bezels are going to shrink even further,” Anjum said. “We’re going to push the limits with our new lineup: the Infinity U, V, and O displays. These are new concepts that are just around the corner, and I can’t wait to tell you more about them.”
- Infinity U: This basically looks identical to the Essential Phone’s notch design. It’s a small half oval that cuts down into the top middle of the display.
- Infinity V: Similar to Infinity U, but with four edges instead of a curved half-oval.
- Infinity O: This is a full circular cutout of the display and not so much a “notch” the top edge of the screen. Still, it seems like an eyesore and it’s hard to imagine reaction to this being very positive. What’s gained by that little area of display above it? Asus seems to be exploring a similar idea for its ZenFone 6, and feedback has been overwhelmingly bad.
- New Infinity: This looks to be a completely notchless display. Anjum didn’t discuss this one onstage, and the technology isn’t quite there to allow for this design just yet. That said, Samsung could be exploring the idea of a slider phone that would house the selfie camera and other components somewhere outside their usual location.
So enjoy the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 while they’re here, as they represent the last generation of Samsung smartphones to have a traditional screen design.
Samsung has routinely poked fun at Apple for the notch introduced on the iPhone X last year. Presumably, Samsung will highlight the minimal display area affected by its new designs when they eventually ship as part of upcoming consumer phones.
But the lesson here is that there’s no ignoring the notch. The notch has won — at least until these companies can eliminate it altogether for a truly edge-to-edge screen.