The next OnePlus flagship phone will have a notch in its display, and above is the first official image of it, provided exclusively to The Verge. OnePlus, still the darling of many Android enthusiasts, was alarmed by the vociferous chorus of disapproval directed at new smartphones launching at Mobile World Congress this year with notched displays. So the company reached out to me, as one of the louder critics of the notch trend, to try to make its case for why that change in design is a good thing and why its next phone release will be more than just another iPhone copycat.
“How big a notch is always depends on your choices as a company,”
said Carl Pei,
the public face of OnePlus, when he met me in London last week. In his mind, the question of whether to have a notch at all is a foregone conclusion. OnePlus, like every other phone maker opting to go this design route, sees it as adding more screen real estate instead of taking anything away. “What you are essentially doing is moving the entire notification bar up, giving users more content on their screen.”
ONEPLUS IS PREEMPTING DISCONTENT AMONG ITS FANS, BUT IT’S NOT APOLOGIZING
Though Apple was preceded by the Essential Phone and Sharp Aquos S2 in 2017, the definitive “notch phone” for the vast majority of people is and will forever be the iPhone X. The X marked the first time most people had seen that striking design, which made for a radically different iPhone and an instantly iconic visual identity for Apple’s flagship device. And that’s what has irked a lot of Android fans: Apple has taken ownership of the notch look and any subsequent device that resembles it feels derivative. It didn’t help that, during MWC, we were treated to a conveyor belt of hastily assembled iPhone X lookalikes that had zero software adaptations for the notch.
WITHOUT THE IPHONE X, ONEPLUS MIGHT NOT HAVE MOVED TO A NOTCH DESIGN OR A GESTURE INTERFACE QUITE AS FAST AS IT HAS DONE