Though Essential Phone was the first to sport a notch on the display, Apple was the first one to put hardware behind that notch. And if it was not for the hardware, the notch would have not been there. Well, the notch is not there for show — it is ‘unfortunately’ present because there are some hardware components that require line of sight to function.
As in case of Apple’s iPhone X, the notch houses some most important hardware such as the IR blaster that is required for FaceID. IR needs line of sight and cannot operate behind opaque areas such as the display. The Notch on the iPhone X also houses sensors and a camera, which again cannot function with an obstruction in front of it.
Hence the notch had to be present and Apple probably had no choice. However, reports state that future smartphones from Apple would have a new display technology that could be in favour of a disappearing notch. Apple will either drill holes into OLED panels or use BM (Black Matrix) area within displays. It is presently speculated that the iPhone 2019 models will probably get rid of the notch, provided this new tech is a success.
But heading back to the topic here, we are looking at a weird trend in the Android world. Google announced that Android P will sport compatibility for variable notch sizes for future notch-enabled Android smartphones. This is already seen I the Developer Preview version of the Next Android (Android P) that was released a few days ago. Android P will allow developers to handle the notch size for apps and operating systems ahead.
While many Android smartphone manufacturers mocked at Apple for the Notch design on the forehead of its flagship iPhone X, Apple now seems to be laughing back at them. This time at the MWC 2018, we saw a plethora of smartphone brands, mainly originating from China, showcasing the famous notch design display. However, putting a cut in the display and sporting the notch in their forthcoming smartphones was easy, but replicating what Apple did for their iPhone X is simply an ‘almost-impossible’ task for them. The reason — the filthy expensive hardware that is used by FaceID.
Apple’s Face Recognition system consists of pricey hardware and software that are not as easy to replicate. Apple uses 3D face recognition sensing cameras that provide accurate scanning and incorporates enhanced security. A report from Digitimes states that the hardware technology used by Apple isn’t cheap.
The report mentions that smartphone vendors, mainly in China, are still reluctant to adopt the 3D sensing tech for their new smartphones ahead because of persistent high prices of 3D sensing modules. The reason behind this high price is insufficient production capacity. The price for 3D sensing modules are presently hovering around $30 to $50 each, said sources from Taiwan-based IC-houses in the report.
Sources also said that Samsung, the Korean smartphone giant, has also refrained from using the technology for its mobiles in the short term. ‘Qualcomm, MediaTek and Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA have shifted their focus to develop their platform solutions enabled for more AI-centric applications, instead of promoting 3D sensing applications’, said the sources.