This could be it for the mobile phone notch

Posted: 10 January 2019 10:20 am
News

Good news for notch-haters: the pesky screen-hog could be on its last legs.

The notch, the little cut-in at the top of some phones, has been controversial ever since it was popularised by the iPhone X in 2017. Some vehemently defend the presence of the notch in devices like the iPhone X and Pixel 3XL, but others mocked and ridiculed it.

Austrian sensor technology developer ams (yes, with a lower-case A) announced that it is releasing an "RGB light and IR proximity sensor" which would be able to function from behind an OLED panel, like that found on the iPhone XS.

The new technology, ams says, "enables smartphone manufacturers to achieve the highest possible ratio of display area to body size", paving the way for a completely notch-less phone in the near future.

A theoretical problem with moving the sensor behind the display is that it could be harder for the sensor to detect a face through an OLED panel and screen. However, ams claims that its sensor's sensitivity means that it can "produce accurate light measurements in all lighting conditions".

So, what does that mean for the future of the notch? According to Reuters, ams is the supplier for the sensors behind Apple's FaceID on their newer iPhones. Since a notch is no longer required for FaceID to function, 2019's iPhones might be able to ditch the notch entirely.

You might have to wait until phones can be all-screen, as this advancement doesn't affect the front-facing camera. Alas, that pesky selfie-maker is still going to take up valuable screen real estate. Samsung is rumoured to be using a "hole-punch" design, having a cut out for a camera in the display, to increase the screen to body ratio of its next phones. This has lead to speculation around whether Apple would also gravitate towards the hole-punch camera, too.

Another question remains: what happens if you break your phone screen? In all likelihood, a cracked phone screen or obscured view for the sensor would render it useless, and with the iPhone X and XS/XR omitting the fingerprint sensor, you'd be without biometrics.

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Picture: Dedi Grigoroiu/Shutterstock

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