The week of endless notch takes no one cares about

There's been a lot of chatter about notches this week, which lives in a month and a year full of takes on display cut-outs. The people who aren't a fan of this display trend are plenty vocal, and as we've seen with the Pixel 3 XL leaks the size of the notch is directly related to just how vocal some of us can be. There's even talk of a grand conspiracy, that this notch couldn't possibly be real and Google's going to shock us all in New York next month.

All of this conversation is fascinating, but perhaps more interesting than the vocal rejection of this display design is how little said negativity has impacted adoption. I see notches everywhere these days, from just about every manufacturer. When I wander into a carrier store and listen to people selling phones, the notch almost never gets brought up. It's simply a thing that exists.

Having a giant phone is was worse than having a phone with a notch.

Some additional anecdotal evidence to throw your way, when I ask friends who buy phones without talking to me why they made this decision, the answer is almost always the same. The notch didn't matter, because the screen was bigger without making the phone bigger. There's no need to buy the phone you have to use with two hands when the display extends to the whole body of the phone. For these people in particular, having a giant phone is was worse than having a phone with a notch.

Folks who remember the last Pixel launch will remember the conversation surrounding bezels. The Pixel 2 XL seemed more popular in our comments and forums because the top and bottom bezels were dramatically reduced. Even with the early display problems found with the 2 XL, the larger size and resolution were things that seemed to be the things that mattered. This year, it seems like hardcore fans of Pixel phones are mixed. We've got the "no notch" folks much happier with the reduced bezels in the Pixel 3 renders, while throwing shade at the massive cut out on the Pixel 3 XL.

It's unlikely this conversation is going away anytime soon, and in my opinion that's a good thing. Samsung seems pretty happy to stick with its unique curved edge to edge display without a notch, while leaks seem to suggest Apple is about to go all in on its notch. OnePlus seems to be ready to distract from the notch with an in-display fingerprint scanner, while LG gives you the ability to hide the notch in software. There's no single approach to this experience, and no single cut-out design everyone can agree on. It's a small, and perhaps largely symbolic, thing which makes a lot of different phones in an otherwise homogenous landscape appear unique, and I like that.

Meanwhile, we here at Android Central have a fun week coming up!

  • Qualcomm is finally moving the rest of the smartwatch industry forward. I'm going to go ahead and guess out loud that planning its event right before Apple most likely refreshes its watch is no accident. But remember, it'll probably be a while before anything with this new processor is shipping.
  • Speaking of Apple, I'm honestly not sure what to expect. This is an "s" year for Apple, which historically has meant a fairly iterative update. But with the iPhone X, the rules as we knew them kind of got thrown out the window. Should be fun, and of course our friends at iMore are already on the ground.
  • Those of you who are fans of our PlayStation 4 content are going to have a lot to read this week. SO many games are launching this month and next, it's going to be a lot of fun to see everyone's thoughts on all of this new stuff.
  • My very public loathing for the way Epic Games is handling Fortnite on Android has not stopped it from earning 15 Million downloads since launch, which speaks volumes to how insanely popular this game is around the world.
  • I get why this exists, but Fortnite Monopoly? Seriously?
  • The new season of Iron Fist is way better than the first.

That's all from me this week. Have a good one!

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter