Over the past few months, we have seen a variety of Android handsets announced or leaked that proudly show off a notch in the display. Whatever your preference, this design choice has divided many in the Android community. There were rumors and leaks about a cutout being present on the upcoming OnePlus 6, and it was finally confirmed in an interview with OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei that the phone would indeed embrace the notch.
As a company that has prided itself on being in touch with its customers, you can bet that there was an influx of feedback in regards to the topic. Because of this, CEO Pete Lau has now chosen to voice his thoughts on the subject, and better explain why the company made the choice to go with its design. Lau took to the OnePlus forums to pen a long and detailed explanation.
He started off by stating that the community has been instrumental in the growth of the company and that since the confirmation of the notch on the OnePlus 6, things have gotten a bit heated. Simply put, the notch is being implemented to maximize screen real estate without sacrificing the size of the device itself. Without going into too much detail, he did state that the phone will have a larger display and an improved screen-to-body ratio.
The placement of the notch works perfectly to house the front-facing camera, keeping it dead center, which according to Lau, improves the quality of selfies and also allows its facial unlock feature to function at its peak. He does talk about other design options like a pop-up camera but states that the technology is still in its infancy, and making use of the cutout area was a much better option.
Lau also talks about sourcing the best possible display and to do this there were three points that the company focused on. The first being able to maximize the display area and to do this, the upcoming handset will utilize the cutout, which measures in at 19.616mm by 7.687mm. According to the firm's research, this area typically goes unused most of the time and, because of this, it's the perfect space to utilize when it comes to the camera and various sensors of the phone. The second concern when sourcing a display is its performance. Lau didn't go into great detail about what the company looks for but did state they found one that matched the criteria and that it was also optimized for a notch design.
The final and most crucial aspect of the display is its availability. The firm has struggled with keeping its phones in stock in the past, and the ability to scale production of the display when needed is important. It is because of this, OnePlus has chosen a display that is easily obtainable, yet still meets its strict criteria. While some may not like this direction, the company will at least offer a silver lining in that it will allow users to enable a "compatibility" mode which will black out the display area flanking the notch to gain a more traditional look.
If you have never experienced a device with a notch, you might be curious how the cutout works in relation to the UI and OS. Thankfully, OnePlus states that it has optimized OxygenOS to work alongside the cutout so that you will always have access to all of your notifications. The cutout will, in fact, allow there to be more screen real estate, as it is an added portion of the screen that can display notifications, the clock, and other tidbits.
Many will most likely compare the notch on an Android device to that of an Apple iPhone X. The iPhone X is unique in that it uses a custom AMOLED panel that allows it to be near bezel-less all the way around by folding underneath itself. In the case of most Android handsets, including the OnePlus, there will still be a chin on the bottom. The reason this exists, even with the notch in place, is because of the ribbon connectors that are required to connect the display to the board.
OnePlus has certainly come along way since its inception when it used to listen to the voice of the community. Over the course of its life, it has slowly moved away from that, evolving into a more traditional smartphone company, taking the reins into its own hands, and building products that will ensure its future. While the motto of "never settle" is most likely ringing in the ears of fired up onlookers looking to abandon ship, OnePlus still most likely will have an ace up its sleeve when it comes to time for the release the OnePlus 6, pricing it far below its competition, which should be enough to quiet any naysayers.