This Is Samsung's First 5G Phone Prototype

Quite a bit can be said about the notch and its value in today's smartphone market. But Samsung is apparently thinking about new — and odd — ways to use it.

Credit: Engadget

(Image credit: Engadget)

At the Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii on Tuesday (Dec. 4), Samsung showcased a new 5G prototype phone. The company didn't say much about the device, other than to suggest that it was on display to showcase how 5G would work from Qualcomm on a Samsung device. But more than anything, people were commenting on its strange corner notch.

MORE: I Just Tried 5G for the First Time: Here's What It Lets You Do

At the top-right of the screen, you'll see what amounts to an extra part of the bezel. There, the notch houses the front-facing camera. It's a rather odd position and as the images from Engadget show, it makes for a strange design when you're interacting with the device. Stranger yet, Samsung was forced to modify the smartphone's software to accommodate the extra part on the top-right, pushing content on that side down.

The notch has been one of the more controversial smartphone design elements over the last couple of years. Many believe it's an unsightly addition to the top bezel and creates a strange smartphone experience. Others, however, say that it's worth the trade-off on phones like the iPhone XS because it allows for thinner bezels all around.

Whatever the case, Samsung and others are eyeing ways to eliminate the notch. Samsung, for instance, has developed a new screen technology called Infinity-O that uses a laser to cut a hole in the corner of the screen to house the front-facing camera. It's similar to what's pictured above, but there's no notch and instead allows for a full-screen effect.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to note that the Samsung smartphone is just a prototype and may or may not be something the company could launch in the future. Here's hoping it's just a test and nothing more.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.