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Samsung’s new idea to replace the notch somehow makes it look even worse

Published Oct 16th, 2019 10:12AM EDT
New Samsung phone
Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/Shutterstock

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Smartphone design in 2018 was dominated by talk about the notch, with all the major smartphone designers and eventually Samsung jumping on board the trend of featuring a notched bezel at the top of the front display. Some of the phones decided to add sensors within the notch that make things like 3D facial authentication possible, though they generally also included bezels at the bottom — meaning the phones tended not to have a corner-to-corner screen design.Since then, phone makers have experimented with other notch-related designs, including slide-out camera mechanisms and shrinking the notch to the shape of a teardrop. Samsung, meanwhile, may be thinking about something new — a so-called reverse notch, which, in case you’re wondering what that means, is exactly what the name implies.

A newly published patent reveals Samsung’s thinking along these lines, showing how the camera, speakers, and sensors would all be housed in this notch that protrudes above the phone rather than being positioned in the way you’re probably more familiar with via the notch on, say, the latest iPhone models.

The patent was approved in September and published last week by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (h/t LetsGoDigital), and you can get a sense of what’s envisioned with this concept design below:

Image source: LetsGoDigital

The Dutch tech news site notes that the wide recess shown in this drawing offers space for at least one front camera, a speaker and two sensors. If Samsung does decide to press forward with this, it may be the first such protruding reverse notch — although other companies like Xiaomi have likewise patented similar reverse notch designs. They, and Samsung, are all doing so because companies are increasingly looking for alternative designs to the notch and additional sensors, which is why they’ve also been pursuing everything from pop-up cameras to dual displays.

Additionally, we’re seeing manufacturers trying to perfect under-screen cameras and the like. It’s not just about the notch, though. Companies from across the mobile industry spectrum continue trying to inch their way towards offering truly all-screen phones, with no compromises or workarounds that have to be accepted like the much-maligned notch. One day!

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.