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Samsung has a brilliant Galaxy Note design idea that would ‘kill’ the notch and punch-hole cameras

Published Feb 6th, 2019 7:31AM EST
Galaxy Note 10 vs. Galaxy S10
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Ever since the iPhone X made the infamous notch the must-have design feature on 2018 iPhones, it was clear that smartphone makers will do whatever it can to deliver the kind of phone designs we’ve always wanted, Apple included. The notch is a compromise the iPhone maker had to make in its quest to extend the screen from edge to edge because Apple also replaced the fingerprint sensor with a more sophisticated biometrics authentication. Android vendors, meanwhile, failed to adopt Face ID and quickly moved beyond the notch, trying to eliminate it from their designs. We’ve seen phones with slide-out cameras and phones with two screens as a result. And Samsung pioneered the punch-hole screen design, Infinity-O as it calls it, for its next-generation flagship and mid-range phones. But Samsung has figured out a clever way to “kill” the notch and the Infinity-O camera hole in future Galaxy Note designs.

We’ve already told you that slide-out camera designs are a terrible idea for phones for a number of reasons, even though they’re a great way to remove the selfie camera from the front side of the phone. Slider phones may always break down faster than conventional devices, and they may be more prone to sustain liquid damage. Not to mention that the protective cases for phones with slide-out cameras are also strange contraptions.

The Galaxy Note isn’t likely to get a slide-out camera soon, but Samsung had a somewhat similar idea. The selfie camera may be placed inside the S Pen stylus, according to a recent Samsung patent that Android Police discovered. The patent was filed late last February, just as a large number of iPhone X phones were unveiled.

Such a design would actually let you take out the S Pen and use it as a selfie camera whenever you want to take a selfie, without worrying about slide-out mechanisms, durability issues, and protective cases. That’s because the Galaxy Note already has a built-in canal for the S Pen stylus. That’s the phone’s iconic feature.

Image source: Samsung via USPTO

By placing the camera inside the stylus, Samsung wouldn’t have to worry about notches and Infinity-O screens, and a future Galaxy Note version could feature the true all-screen smartphone design you’ve always wanted.

That said, what’s interesting about the patent is that it focuses on the optical zoom abilities of the stylus, suggesting that Samsung would be able to incorporate even better cameras inside the accessory by making use of the extra space available inside the S Pen, compared to the space available inside a phone.

The obvious downside to this design is that the phone wouldn’t support Face ID-like functionality. On the other hand, Samsung does have a sophisticated in-display fingerprint-sensing tech at its disposal, so 3D facial recognition isn’t necessary.

As always with patents, there’s no telling if Samsung will go forward with such plans. The Galaxy Note 10 should launch at some point in August, and it’s very likely it’ll feature a design similar to the Galaxy S10.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.