LG Just Patened the Future Look of Smartphones

Samsung isn't the only smartphone maker coming up with interesting new ways to cut out those dreaded bezels and give us a truly full-screen experience. It turns out LG is working on similar tech, and as a matter of fact, it just patented something pretty special.

Credit: LetsGoDigital

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

What you see above is a patent granted to LG Display for a smartphone screen with a cutout for the front facing camera and associated sensors. The sketches were dug up by Dutch blog LetsGoDigital, and hint at where the company is looking to go with its phone design.

According to LG, the cutout can be positioned where needed — either dead center toward the top of the panel, as we're used to seeing in pretty much all phones today (save for that disturbing Asus ZenFone concept) or in a corner, where it actually looks a little less obtrusive and sort of fits with the rounded edges of the display.

Credit: LetsGoDigital

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

The question is — as it always is with patents — how close LG actually is to launching a phone with such a design. It seems the way things are headed, notches will get progressively smaller, then we'll see holes in screens for some components (like these examples) and then, finally, we'll get a device with cameras and speakers that are fully obscured by the display. The launch of Samsung's Galaxy S10, expected next spring, will be especially telling in terms of what we can expect from the industry for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Credit: Samsung

(Image credit: Samsung)

Speaking of Samsung, that company just had its yearly developer conference this week, and showed off a trio of new designs for notched displays, dubbed "Infinity-U," "Infinity-V" and "Infinity-O" (corresponding to the shapes of the cutouts in each). The Infinity-O looks to be the closest to what LG's patented here, though given that Samsung felt it necessary to introduce two other conventional notch designs, we may not see holes in screens materialize until 2020. Based on that graphic above, there's a good chance the Galaxy S10 could just end up looking a lot like the Essential Phone.

So while we've got a rough idea of what the future holds thanks to LG's patents and Samsung's keynote, we're still not sure when we'll see it. One thing's for sure, though. If you really dislike notches, 2018 may be your last opportunity to get a flagship without one.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.