Mingis on Tech: When it comes to Android phones, a notch too far?

The all-screen design of Apple's iPhone X necessitated a 'notch' at the top of the display for various cameras and sensors. So Android phone makers naturally (notchurally?) did the same thing.

Imitation, it's been said, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Bezelless Phone - iPhone X Notch Apple

The iPhone X notch.

Which probably explains the rush of Android smartphone makers to embrace the "notch" design made famous in Apple's current flagship phone, the iPhone X. But is that a smart move in this form-follows-function world – especially since no one expects the Apple notch to be around forever.

With that in mind, Computerworld's Apple expert, Michael DeAgonia, and Android blogger JR Raphael chat with Executive Editor Ken Mingis about just what the hell is going on. (Raphael had a few pithy things to say last year about Apple's design.)

essential phone notch 2 Michael Simon/IDG

The Essential Phone notch.

As DeAgonia notes, it's not like the notch design in the latest Android phones is used for anything other than to copy Apple's now-distinctive design. Raphael helpfully pulls out his Moto 360 smart watch, which arrived in 2014 with what was disparaged as a "flat tire" design. (The flat tire referred to design of the Moto, which had a small blacked-out area at the bottom of the watch face.)

Like the iPhone X notch, it might have been a bit ungainly, but it was there for a purpose – unlike the notches showing up in everything from Asus' Zenfone 5, to the LG G7 and the Huawei P20.

So it would appear notches are here for the duration. Or at least until Apple figures out how to avoid using one and moves to real full-screen display. Then our trio agreed, we can all look back in wonder at vaguries of smartphone design.

For the audio-only version, click play (or catch up on all earlier episodes) below. Or you can find us on iTunes, where you can download each episode and listen at your leisure.

Happy listening, and please, send feedback or suggestions for future topics to us. We'd love to hear from you.

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