Even Samsung may not be safe from the controversial notch. Samsung filed a patent application (PDF) with Chinese patent organization SIPO that shows off a few different phone designs each with a notch above the phone's screen. The patent application was filed on March 30 and spotted on Monday by Dutch phone blog Mobielkopen.
The phone in the patent application looks akin in design to Apple's iPhone X, the Essential Phone and others. It has a dual camera setup on the back, no physical fingerprint scanner and a screen that stretches to all sides on the front. Above the screen you'll notice a small rectangular cutout with the phone's front camera, earpiece and other sensors. Take a look below:
Phones with display cutouts -- AKA notches -- first appeared on the scene in 2017, starting with the Essential Phone and the iPhone X. The notch design essentially acted as a compromise, allowing phone makers to increase the size of a phone's display without having to remove cameras, sensors or other hardware from the front of the phone.
But the design choice has riled people up -- some because of aesthetics and others because they worry that the notch will get in the way of using the phone and viewing the screen. But the notch isn't going away; it's becoming the latest trend. Phonemakers like Asus, Huawei and OnePlus have launched or confirmed the notch, while the LG G7 is expected to adopt the design. Even Google is on board, supporting the notch in its upcoming Android P software.
Samsung had seemed like a final holdout, even smirking at Apple in an ad that shows a lifetime iPhone user switching to the Galaxy Note 8.
So it's significant to see Samsung exploring the notch zone as a way to increase the screen-to-body ratio. Keep in mind that the front of the Galaxy S9 is made up of over 80 percent screen.
However, just because the notch design appears in a Samsung patent application doesn't guarantee that the design will eventually be released. Other designs in Samsung patent applications try to maximize screen space by showing phones with holes in the screen for sensors or no visible sensors at all, and these haven't come to fruition either.
Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.