The latest Samsung patent shows a Galaxy smartphone with a round notch and three displays.
Samsung patents smartphone with square main display, two round sub-displays
Two round sub-displays, or round screens, are at the top and bottom of the main display. A square display sits in the middle, called the main display. The main display is the largest of the three. Essentially, the display is "squircular," a combination of "square" and "circular." While the top and bottom are "squircular," a standard square display sits in the middle.
As is the case with all smartphones, the main display and top and bottom sub-displays are all touch-based. Icons align the top of the device and can live on the bottom sub-display as well. The round sub-displays are not just a pretty aesthetic. Users will be able to "circle" through icons as well. Icons travel from app page to app page so that users need not return to the home page to locate them. The round display and the "circling" through apps bring software and hardware together in an ideal way. Many Android OEMs focus on hardware design, but few focus on how software and hardware work together and reinforce each other.
Samsung creates Galaxy smartphone with round notch, tackles notch design problem
In patenting this new futuristic smartphone, the Android OEM creates the round notch, a new perspective on notch design. Most Android OEMs concern themselves with either the typical "bar" notch or the "waterdrop" notch. The waterdrop notch is a unique notch shape and take, but it doesn't leave room for much except the selfie camera atop the phone. A bar notch isn't necessarily bad, but it demands too much space and often sticks out like an eyesore (cue Samsung's Galaxy Fold with its awkward bar notch at the top right of the tablet display).
The round notch is a new notch shape that, in this case, would fit the "circling through" of apps (software). Hardware and software combine to create an experience that is not only intuitive but eliminates the typical notch eyesore designs. Since the camera would fit in the round notch, it wouldn't stick out like the current notch designs of most Android OEMs.
Between the round notch and the circling through apps, users would come to expect a "circular" top and bottom display and would hardly notice the notch. In the patent, one can see the round notch is thinner than the typical notch designs. And the round notch leaves room to store more cameras and sensors than the waterdrop notch.
Round Notch: Samsung continues to rethink the notch
From Samsung patents over the last several months, it's obvious that Android's largest OEM is thinking about the notch — constantly. And there's good reason for that. With notches being a necessary hardware evil for a greater (mobile) good, their integration into smartphone design is essential for the future of the smartphone market.
Samsung has thought about the notch a bit. The notch on the Galaxy Fold is an eyesore. And yet, Samsung has other notch designs apart from the bar notch of the Fold. The company labels its notch designs "Infinity-O," "Infinity-U," and "Infinity-V." The Infinity-O design refers to the punch-hole camera, bearing an "O" shape, at the top of the phone screen. The Infinity-U design is a notch bearing a "U" shape. Infinity-U design comes on the Galaxy A30, A50, and A70. The Infinity-V design is a notch with a "V" shape to it. The Infinity-V design comes on the Galaxy A10, M20, and A20s.
These notch cutouts show Samsung's desire to make the notch part of a gorgeous phone aesthetic, rather than tolerate a hideous notch for tolerance's sake.
Some will look back and say that Samsung invests too much time into the notch, but, if practice makes perfect, rethinking the notch is the only way to redesign the notch. The notch may never be perfect, but Samsung's newest round notch is as close as it has come so far.