Google to Manufactures – Phones Can Only Have a Maximum of Two Notches

Regardless of if you like, don’t like, or vehemently hate sensor notches on smartphones, the reality is that they are coming into vogue.  Google themselves are expected to have a notched device in the Pixel 3 XL and there are already notched devices out there from the likes of Essential and Huawei.  That said, Android Oreo has never fully supported notches but that changes under Android P.

The Android team over at Google took to the Android Development blog yesterday to outline some key code elements that developers need to use in order to make sure their apps work with a notched device in Android P.  They also laid down the law for manufactures too.  No device will have more that two notches.

While the entire blog post is an interesting read, especially for those developer types out there, there is a key paragraph that lays out the basic rules for developers and for manufactures.

Android P introduces official platform support for display cutouts, with APIs that you can use to show your content inside or outside of the cutout. To ensure consistency and app compatibility, we’re working with our device manufacturer partners to mandate a few requirements.

First, devices must ensure that their cutouts do not negatively affect apps. There are two key requirements:

  • In portrait orientation, with no special flags set, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout.
  • In fullscreen or landscape orientation, the entire cutout area must be letterboxed.

Second, devices may only have up to one cutout on each short edge of the device. This means that:

  • You won’t see multiple cutouts on a single edge, or more than two cutouts on a device.
  • You won’t see a cutout on the left or right long edge of the device.

Within these constraints, devices can place cutouts wherever they want.

One of the beauties – and distractions – of Android is its flexibility and the flexibility phone manufactures have when it comes to designing their phones.  In this case, Google is being very clear about what will and will not be acceptable so we don’t end up with some crazy, four notch design phones or something like that in 2019.

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