Google demands: only one notch per edge, two in total per device

02 August, 2018, 03:55 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Google Details Display Notch Guidelines for Developers and Manufacturers

There's nothing the company could do to prevent handset manufacturers from making phones with any number of notches they want - but it could make life hard for anyone who made a decision to ignore the guidelines. As a matter of fact, there can be only one notch per short edge, and there can't be multiple cutouts on the same margin.

Within these constraints, devices can place cutouts wherever they want.

For example, Android P phones can only have one cutout on each edge of the device.

The last rule would be an odd choice for manufacturers given the whole point of edge-to-edge screens is exactly that.

Since the release of Apple's iPhone X a year ago, there has been a steady influx of phones with notches from many companies, including Nokia, OPPO, OnePlus, and Leagoo. Most smartphones that we have seen so far don't have more than one notch but Google is hedging its bets against a potential problem in the future by laying down the law with regards to the maximum number of notches allowed on an Android device.

The company is keen to support device makers in the production of future smartphones, but it also needs to ensure there's a consistently great experience across all Android phones. As per a latest blog post for developers, Google is making it clear that Android P phones will not have more than two cutouts.

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For developers, Google notes that Android P brings platform support for display cutouts with APIs that can be used to show content inside or outside of the cutout. Google says it worked with device manufacturer partners to establish a set of practices for notch implementation so that the hardware design won't conflict with software rules built for app devs.

Another rule set by Google states that: "In portrait orientation, with no special flags set, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout".

For developers, this means all app windows "will be letterboxed so that none of your content is displayed in the cutout area", regardless of whether they're in landscape or full-screen mode. For that, Android P beta devices with a cutout like the Essential PH-1 are recommended. But it's always possible we see some insane designs with a lot of different notches from a manufacturer that doesn't have to follow those rules. This is done both to help simplify the status bar and help with digital wellbeing of our users.

Given the explosive growth of the notch, it's no surprise to see some major industry players express an interest in reigning in the trend. That means no notch support on the side of the display. Jack Wallen ponders this and plays devil's advocate for the new world display order.

Phones with notches are incredibly divisive, but since Apple launched the iPhone X complete with a little screen cutout, there have been endless copies from other handset manufacturers.

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