In an unprecedented coincidence, nearly every noteworthy Android vendor around the world has seemingly enlisted the services of the same smartphone design consultancy. How embarrassing! We weren’t even aware that Apple offered design consulting services to rival phone makers, but that would certainly explain why nearly two dozen different Android phones with Apple’s iPhone X display design have either been released or will soon be released.
Oh, wait. How silly of us. There is another explanation as to why so many phones look like Apple’s iPhone X this year. Maybe it’s because all these companies are content shamelessly copying Apple’s designs instead of coming up with their own?
We’ve seen companies dodge questions when asked why they copied the iPhone X, and we’ve seen companies try to explain their iPhone ripoffs away by blaming the notch on the supply chain. We’ve even seen delusional Android fans make the laughable claim that all these companies are actually copying a phone from Essential, not the iPhone X. As it turns out, however, there are ways to make a smartphone with an “all-screen” design that isn’t a blatant iPhone X copycat.
Some people enjoy variety when it comes to design choice. In fact, some might say that’s one of the great things about Android. But apparently choice is a thing of the past for many Android vendors these days, because copying Apple’s latest iPhone designs is all that matters. We don’t have to show you that embarrassing image with 20 different iPhone X copycats in one picture again, because we’ve already beaten that horse to death. 2018 is the year of the notch, and we have Apple’s design team and Android companies’ lack of originality to thank.
On the iPhone X, the notch makes sense for two important reasons. First, it allowed Apple to make the thin bezel surrounding the iPhone X’s display completely uniform all the way around, thanks to a brilliant feat of engineering that hides the display controller behind the bottom of the screen instead of underneath it. Second, it leaves room for the complex cluster of cameras and sensors that Apple calls TrueDepth.
Unsurprisingly, not a single copycat from an Android phone maker has either of these key features. 3D facial recognition systems and bendable OLED displays are complex and expensive, and Android vendors are only concerned with copying the general appearance of the iPhone X. Of course, there are plenty of ways to accomplish the pseudo all-screen design that Apple and other smartphone companies are chasing right now. Samsung uses nearly edgeless sides and narrow bezels above and below the screen on its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, for example. And now, there’s another new phone with a creative solution to the all-screen design quandary.
A Chinese Android phone maker you’ve never heard of called Doogee is one of the many companies that made an iPhone X ripoff. It’s called the Doogee V, and you’ll probably never see one in your life. But unlike other companies, Doogee is actively working on other ways to achieve an all-screen design without copying Apple’s notch. A prototype of one such phone, the Doogee Mix 4, was just featured in a video on YouTube.
You know what? This design is actually pretty awesome. Maybe I’m biased because one of my favorite smartphones of all time is the Nokia N95 that had a similar screen-sliding mechanism, but I really like it. When you use the phone most of the time, all you see is display. Then when it comes time to make a phone call or snap a selfie, you can simply slide up the back of the phone.
Kudos to you, Doogee. Perhaps other Android phone makers will find inspiration and realize that copying Apple’s designs isn’t the only answer. Or maybe they’ll just wait until next year, when Apple will reportedly release iPhones with a new design they can copy.