Google has decided that Android phones cannot have more than two notches. Also, any cutout must be located at the top or bottom of the screen. So you shouldn’t expect to see a notch poking in from the side anytime soon.
In a new set of guidelines published this week, the Mountain View-based company put some limitations on cutouts for edge-to-edge displays. The guidelines are meant to help wrangle hardware manufacturers who might otherwise get a little carried away with their ideas, but more importantly it keeps the experience clean and consistent between devices.
The problem, however, is that Google can’t actually require its partners to listen. Being that Android is open source, hardware manufacturers can do whatever they please. As long as they include the Google Mobile Services package, these partners still gain access to the Play Store.
But there haven’t been any mainstream brands to roll out a multi-notch product. From the eleven partners who’ve embraced the design choice so far, there are sixteen single-notch products on the market today.
Android P does have the tools necessary to adapt for this future. When Google announced the latest version of Android, it was made clear that notches are welcome. Consumers may not like that, but a notch seems a lot better than other alternatives that are being tested. The notch allows for an edge-to-edge display that doesn’t force the front-facing camera and sensors to get squished into an awkward, tiny space.
Later this year, Google will show just how useful the notch can be for Android by putting one on the Pixel 3 XL. The 2018 flagship should keep up with an industry trend but even include front-facing stereo speakers as well.