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Samsung, Too? Patent Hints at Notch Phone

Soon, it's going to be quicker just to name all the phones that aren't planning on adding iPhone X-style notches to their front displays.

Credit: Mobielkopen/SIPO

(Image credit: Mobielkopen/SIPO)

At least, that's how smartphone fans might feel if Samsung follows through on a patent filing and adopts a notched front display for one its future phones. The filing, spotted by Dutch blog Mobielkopen, shows a Samsung phone with a prominent notch on its front screen. Samsung applied for the patent with China's SIPO patent office.

Notched displays have been in vogue as of late, with Essential introducing a phone with that distinctive look last year. Yet, it was the iPhone X that really popularized the notch, even if some users complained about the area housing the phone's front-facing camera dipping down into its otherwise expansive display.

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Even if the iPhone X's notch has its share of critics, it's proven popular enough to where phone makers want to incorporate that design decision into their own models. Asus's upcoming ZenFone 5 and 5Z will both feature notches, and OnePlus has confirmed as much for its still-to-be announced OnePlus 6 phone. LG's next phone, the G7 ThinQ, is expected to feature a notched display as well.

It remains to be seen just why smartphone makers are rushing to add notches to their front displays, though. In Apple's case, the notch serves a distinct purpose — it houses all the sensors the iPhone X uses for its Face ID feature. So far, it's unclear what purpose outside of an aesthetic one that Android phone makers are hoping to serve with their notches.

OnePlus has even gone as far as to announce that the OnePlus 6 will include a software trick to let users disguise the notch on that phone, which really doesn't sound like much of a commitment to the new look.

Credit: Mobielkopen/SIPO

(Image credit: Mobielkopen/SIPO)

Samsung may not be casting its lot with the pro-notch crowd anyhow. This is only a patent filing, after all, and not an official pronouncement of future designs. In fact, Mobielkopen even found patent filings suggesting Samsung could go in an opposite and shed even more bezels to the point where a future phone has a 99 percent screen-to-body ratio. That would be keeping more in the spirit of the current lineup's Infinity Display, which, for our money, is every bit as unique a look as Apple's iPhone X.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.