Is there a way that phone manufacturers could hide the camera behind the screen to get rid of that ugly bar? It’s frequently remarked that when Apple takes a specific action, entire sectors follow suit. It is a painfully true axiom the majority of the time. Although the corporation doesn’t dominate the global smartphone industry, it dominates in the premium segment and frequently sets trends. The iPhone’s headphone jack died first, and the wall charger vanished from the package. Both of those actions gradually entered the Android ecosystem. The iPhone 14 Pro was taken this year by Apple’s team of engineers and designers, who removed the notch and added a camera and equipment cutout called the Dynamic Island with some unique capabilities.
The Android ecosystem has been experimenting with selfie cameras that are “punched” into displays for years. Still, it has yet to try transforming the technology from a hindrance to a usable interface. Will Apple make it? More significantly, will makers of Android-based hardware do the same?
The development of Android display cutouts
The old phones with giant bezels, 16:9 WVGA displays, and physical navigation keys have long since been replaced. Yet, their development was more complex than Apple’s iPhone lineup. Instead, it moved more slowly, and Samsung significantly influenced how things developed.
After the release of the iPhone X in 2017, iPhones instantly transitioned from having large bezels and a Touch ID bottom key to their current form, more or less. It was introduced in 2007 to commemorate the debut of the original iPhone. It marked a significant change in how iPhones will look for virtually all subsequent iterations up until the present. The complicated Face ID face unlock technology was designed with a full-screen, bezel-less layout with a notch housing the front camera and other sensors.
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Android quickly outgrew that design as a result. First, the “teardrop notch” took up tiny screen real estate and left space for the front-facing camera. Several companies created ingenious pop-up cameras like those found on the OnePlus 7 Pro to do away with display cuts. The first handset with a circular “hole punch” in the display for the camera was released by Huawei in late 2018. Samsung put all of its efforts into “punching” its Galaxy S10 series devices, and the idea has stuck around since spreading to various Android manufacturers. The top smartphones in 2022 have hole-punch cameras.
It’s an island, not a hole.
With the release of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, Apple eventually abandoned notches and adopted a hole punch design, imitating Android. The fact is Apple’s UX implementation is more thorough.
The business is still committed to Face ID and its variety of sensors, so an iPhone cannot use a straight circle hole punch. As a result, designers went wide, creating pills, as many of us have been saying. The Samsung Galaxy S10+ and S10 5G also adopted the pill design; however, they were placed in the display’s upper-right corner. The pill is the show’s star with the iPhone 14 Pro devices. There is no way to escape seeing it or the wasteful use of display space it necessitates.
Will Android receive a similar app?
Certain Android phones in 2023 will probably include a Dynamic Island-type feature, although we anticipate those devices to initially be produced by companies like Honor, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. We wouldn’t be surprised if Dynamic Island became popular because Chinese companies have long needed to include hip features and design cues from the iPhone.
We have less faith that Android users will increasingly favor Dynamic Island UI. We’re still determining if Android makers are prepared to resume stacking front-facing sensors for facial recognition or other uses to milk that pill space justifiably. Many R&D departments would view it as a design regression that already poses issues. As many Dynamic Island actions need you to tap on the cutout, your camera will almost always be smeared.
The way Android’s toast notifications are now shown is more than sufficient. Guess what? Other OEMs, including Asus and Samsung, have introduced a smaller toast design that is similarly pill-shaped. Hence, we may see advancements in permanent, aesthetically pleasing contextual interfaces for music or calls. They might need to center on the cutout from the display. If this is the case, an OEM will likely have to propose a change to the Android Open Source Project that will need to be formalized, and Google won’t be the first to do so. In other words, it’s unlikely to happen, and even if it does, it will take a long time. Recall that Android 13 has just recently begun to reach non-Pixel smartphones, and it will be a while before most active devices use the version. This is due to Android’s distribution methodology, which creates a permanent state.