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The iPhone X's notch will be everywhere, and we're to blame

The iPhone X's notch will be everywhere, and we're to blame

Asus ZenFone 5 and 5Z, Wiko View 2 and 2 Pro, Ulefone T2 Pro and the unannounced Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6 have one thing in common with the iPhone X: a notch on the display. It does seem, however, that the implementation of this kind of notch is not entirely due to these manufacturers’ desire to copy Apple’s iconic device. It’s also what consumers are demanding. That’s right, consumers like you and me!

History tells us that lesser-known manufacturers imitate successful products

The smartphone market has exploded. The world has no longer been the same since the first iPhone was released and smartphones have become more and more part of our daily life. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed since then: the lesser-known manufacturers try to imitate or ‘take inspiration’ from successful products.

Can you still remember Samsung’s first smartphones? I personally owned the first Galaxy S (i9000) and I was extremely satisfied with it, but it is impossible to deny that the smartphone tried to borrow some of the main features of Apple’s already established iPhone, and it wasn’t the only device to do so.

androidpit htc one a9 vs iPhone 6 2
Of course, these two smartphones don’t look anything alike! / © AndroidPIT

Times have gradually changed and smartphones have evolved as a result, diversifying into a thousand different shapes and sizes with features that are particular to each model, especially in the Android world. The tendency to copy Apple has also declined (with a few exceptions), which has allowed users to buy devices that are more and more adapted to their needs.

In the beginning of 2018, however, we’ve witnessed another reversal of this trend. At the Mobile World Congress just held in Barcelona we saw a number of devices that remind us of… the iPhone X.

Android be togather but not the same 980x549
There are many Android devices that are different from one another, which is their strength. / © Google.

Why did everyone go crazy over the notch?

Why is it that some of the OEMs have decided to forsake years of development and the evolution of their products and resumed copying some very characteristic design traits, effectively bringing us back to the times of war between Samsung and Apple?

The answer is simple and the truth is ugly. But it was us, the market, that asked for it so we can’t complain.

I’ll share with you what I heard from some conversation that I had with company representatives at the fair in Barcelona. It seems that users do in fact like the notch, which has been greatly discussed and criticized. Of course, I don’t want to generalize, but we know that these kinds of decisions are made according to important market research and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the people who make the decisions.

Some of the most famous companies like Samsung and Sony have decided to maintain the originality of their products because they have a large enough share of the international markets (not just with smartphones) to allow them to, but the smaller brands and even Huawei (provided the leaks are true) have moved to the notch solution mainly for this reason.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy s9 vs iphone x 7400
Samsung has decided against the notch. / © AndroidPIT

The iPhone is still a status symbol

Apparently, Apple’s smartphone is still a status symbol and it’s a pleasure to own. People who don’t have the budget to afford the original model and even those who don’t want to venture into the Apple ecosystem are still jealous.

To push this seemingly substantial portion of the market onto their products, OEMs chose to take inspiration from the layout of the iPhone X display, and some even took inspiration from the vertical layout of the dual camera.

Personally, I am really sorry to see how these companies have sold their souls to the devil instead of trying to bring original and innovative products to the market and I think that, at least in the short-term, we’ll have to resign ourselves to the idea of repeating the phrase ‘but it looks like an iPhone’, just like in the stone age of smartphones.

What do you think of this recent development? Do you believe the market is slowing down after years of innovation or do you think this is just a transitional moment toward a more diverse future?

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  • BQA Jul 31, 2018 Link to comment

    I think Android is top notch and I am very happy with my new galaxy A6. I find this discussion about some stupid notch ridiculous. I don't buy red devices, don't like apple, don't wanna pay a lot of money for a phone, always had good experience with cheaper or refurbished samsung devices.

  • I feel like it is more stupid corporations thinking Apple is still a player. The smarter companies know they should still mimick and copy Xiaomi since that's the era of the industry we currently live.

  • Thank you Sammy no ridiculous NOTCH, way to go. Plus finally stereo speaker's & ear buds in the box, way to go. The most feature packed phone on the planet, way to go!

  • before I finish reading this article take tht notch and shove it ! so now I have read it my first thought still stand N8 guy and love it all 6.2 inch screen and no BS notch for tht kind of money shame shame shame ☺ !

  • Any thing you can do we can do better,the other companies singing to Apple,Apple must laugh there heads off when anything they offer the others have to copy it,and now there pricing policy is just spoiling the mobile market,as Apple got away over pricing there phones so now the others are just copying there trend,2018 sales will struggle this year as people just can't afford the new phones,as Chinese phones will become more popular as there more affordable

    • A lot of my friends are putting new batteries in their older i-phones. They tell me there sick of the high prices. Replacing the battery helps them restoring their older phones to how they performed when new. They also told me why upgrade when their older phones are good enough. Apple made a huge mistake slowing the older phones down, plus they really do not want to spend the money on the X!

    • I think they should read the news about how Apple stopped production of iPhone X completely and are planning to phase it out for the next iPhone.

  • I've always been one to "buck the trend". I remember my first large screen phone in 2010, the Dell Streak 5, at the time the 3.5" iPhone screen was king of the roost. I'd have people lay their phones over mine, saying my screen was larger than their entire phone. People would say why would you want such a HUGE phone? Ummm...because (at the time I just started wearing bifocals...the larger screen suited me) I wanted one? a couple of phones later, I got a Huawei Mate2. People were asking why would you get a no name (at the time) phone? Ummmm...because the flipping battery was HUGE, would make it through sometimes 2 days of use easy, didn't need to be charged as much. The phone that it replaced, the first Samsung Galaxy Note, I had to charge it so much, I flat had worn out the charger port THREE TIMES...got to where I could take it apart, swap out the charge port, have it back together in about 15 minutes!
    My personal vehicle for the last 30+ years, have been Mustang's. I've had 5. The last one, my current, is a 2011. When I got it, someone asked, you got ANOTHER Mustang? But why? Everyone is driving SUV's? Well, I LIKE Mustang's, I don't care what everyone else is driving.
    I never understood the keeping up with the Jones' stuff. Hey, if that's what you want...so be it. Not my concern or money, but I don't get it.

  • For me it's clear notch = no buy. If we all do it, it'll disappear for sure. At the end what every brand want is sell phones right? If the notch if the problem of the low sales after asking people why they don't like the phone, is as easy to solve as remove it.

    • I'd never get a phone with a notch. Hopefully there are enough people who agree to keep companies from staying on this trend for long.

      • I don't think that's going to happen. Apple sets what goes on.

      • Only for stupid people. The smartphone industry is home to very dumb corporations and very smart users. This move is a great thing for smart corporations like Xiaomi that still innovate because we already saw the iPhone's sales tank and their position in the global market drop because of hte iPhone X so all these copycats are probably going to go belly up. That means guys like Xiaomi and Lenovo will take their place this year. Xiaomi must have predicted this too since they are planning the world's highest IPO this year.

    • Only problem is if Apple does it and they have a large enough presence, it will be on Android phones. So you need to tell iOS users to stop buying them....good luck!!

  • So after all that, what is the notch for?

    • storm Mar 8, 2018 Link to comment

      It houses the camera and light sensors and so on. In many people's version of an ideal phone the screen stretches right to the edge on all sides. However the top of most every phone is that cluster of camera and sensors but normally reside in the bezel. Coincidentally the center section of the notification status bar is usually pretty empty. So you can give the illusion of stretching the screen all the way to the upper edge by housing the sensors in a notch in the display. Visually it works because that area is usually dead space in that bar. Apple's notch is pretty egregiously large.

      The end result is a somewhat visually improved phone, for certain values of improved, with more screen for less volume of phone.

      • I think that was the original and noble intention of making a phone with a cutout because like you said that part of the screen is usually empty. The problem is that it isn't empty when you start looking at things like media and games and many apps try to use up that space. That's why it was smart of the innovator of that design to ditch it and let Apple copy it instead. I just hope the rest of the android OEMs are smart enough to stop quickly because Apple's losing bad from this phone.

  • storm Mar 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Didn't Essential start the move to the notch? Which would make apple a copycat as well but that's nothing new. I'm currently using an essential phone. I didn't think I'd like the notch but it really disappears in daily use. Of course Essential's notch is small and you can adjust the size of your notification bar so that it blends seamlessly.

    • Not necessarily. Apple had it in the works for a couple years.

    • Actually Essential only announced a notch design first. It took them almost a whole year after that to release the phone and even then it had a large bottom bezel. Sharp released their version of the same design before Essential.

      But Apple did copy the design. Even earlier in that year Xiaomi (who Apple's constantly copied over the years) tried to make a cutout screen and even had an OLED supplier build them a working model. But then they took it to the fans who hated the idea so Xiaomi ditched it. In comes Apple and the rest is history.

  • Android followers know that the essential phone was first with a notch, just like they know that HTC was the first with a all metal chassis phone(smartphones after the iPhone). Give credit, when credits due. Tired of hearing about this.

  • I read that the iPhone X sales were down and they were discontinuing with the model. I personally don't like the look preferring a straight edge. I too have a screen protector which goes around my cameras and sensors. I worry that this part could get scratched. I also protect my phone in a flip style cover. I wonder if Apple will take these companies to court like they did with Samsung. Even though they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. All phone manufactures borrow/copy some elements of others. For me the most important is the software. If it does what I need then I'm happy. I am a very heavy phone user using it more like a computer so this is very important to me. I really loved the small flip phones of past years and was a big Motorola fan because of this. Now my eyesight needs a bigger screen. I also really would like to see removable batteries again being such a heavy user. I'm always worried that the battery won't last until contact runs out etc.

    • Then they'd owe all of those lawsuit winnings to Xiaomi who they copied that notch design from. But I'm sure Xiaomi would be a gracious recipient.

  • Pat Mar 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Can someone please explain to me if the notch is suppose to have some functional purpose? My Note 4 has a notch, but only because the tempered glass screen protector has one so that it fits around the speaker. Maybe some genius design expert saw a phone with a screen protector with a notch in it and thought it would look great if a phone was designed with a notch built in, but to me it simply looks like it decreases the screen real estate. At least I can remove my notch by removing the screen protector.

    • It was actually a noble attempt to try and capitalize on the new bezel-less screen trend started by the same company. Their first attempt got them the current world record of 91.3% screen-to-body but they were hoping to get up to 95% with the next model. To do that and still fit in things like the selfie camera and proximity sensor they thought maybe if they fit it into a cutout on the screen and then they could push the screen to all the corners. But then they got really bad feedback from their consumers so they didn't go through with it.

      And then Apple found that design.

  • In your own article you point out that users apparently like the notch. Nevertheless you lambast companies which try to make their products more salable by copying user appreciated features. (Yeah, reducing data on a screen isn't what I would call a design-feature either, however, if good design was important to everyone there would be only a few types of phones.

    Larger companies, Samsung for example, don't copy the notch. Because they don't need to. Smaller companies, hoping to become bigger companies, so copy the notch. So what?

  • Why is it called the iPhone notch when Essential had the notch 5 months before the iPhone. Is this just lazy journalism where every writer just copies another writer without doing any research?

  • Actually Apple copied the Essential PH-1. They just expanded the notch a little. The article should read The Essential PH-1's notch will be everywhere, and we're to blame. The Essential PH-1 started it all.

    • So many future phones are gonna incorporate the notch. Well, for myself I will never purchase a phone with the notch. I don't care how popular it is. The notch sucks, so thank you ph-1 & Apple. I like notch0's that's about it. The dumbest thing ever invented so I say bush-wa!

  • I'm not falling on Notch Head hairstyles. ;-)

  • NO we really are not envious of Apple users or secretly wish we could afford to be ripped off - We choose Android not because it's cheaper (though it's a factor) but because we strongly believe that Android is BETTER - it's really a shame how a number of Androidpit "reporters" have been duped into supporting Apple. I feel sorry for you, you believe we all want to be the same, little 🐑 that are easily persuaded by the evil Apple.

    Please, please understand WE DON'T WANT OR NEED APPLE!

    Peace 🖖🏼

    • I had Apple iPhone 6 (when it was new) and it was horrible experience. I will never go back and it is not because of money.

    • Mark G.,

      The author of the article has not been "duped into supporting Apple" as you say. He clearly states "I am really sorry to see how these companies have sold their souls to the devil instead of trying to bring original and innovative products to the market".

      We cannot be sure of the exact number of consumers who are pro-notch or anti-notch, but one of our reporters heard from a company at MWC in Barcelona that users do in fact want the notch, which is why this article was written.

      We hope you will contribute substantively in the comments section of our articles in the future, but please refrain from insults and aggressive language.

      • Brittany, I for one am anti-NOTCH. I love watching video's on my s8+, if it had the notch I would definitely not own it. This is the dumbest feature of any. OEM'S will figure this out when their sales start slumping! The X is not selling that well after the first of this year. The ph-1 88,000 the first 6 months. That tells me something!

      • Get used to it!

    • I have both. I used to use my S8 plus as my daily driver. I got tired of the maintenance and constantly having to restart not to mention lack of support options.

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