Android has a lot of obvious changes to get rid of “rabbit ears” obsession. However, Apple may still be in stuck with this design at least until 2020.
In 2017, Apple announced the iPhone X with the top screen cut off part called “rabbit ears”. That strange design is a temporary solution of Apple towards making a “full-screen” phone, and it’s quickly learned by Android firms.
At that time, Android firms are under pressure of many factors, the disadvantage of technology, the limited supply,…. But, the desire to show creativity has helped Android firms find out a series of new solutions for screen cutting part. Moreover, they start thinking of the near future without a notch at the top screen.
Meanwhile, Apple still does not move with “rabbit ears” at least to the iPhone 2020 generation.
The screen with a notch
The iPhone X is a special product that marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone series, so its design must be different. The chief designer of Apple, Jony Ive envisioned the iPhone X has to “like a glass”. That’s why Apple has to find a way to remove the screen bezel maximally.
The missing top-off-screen design help Apple can both equip the front camera and the sensors need for Face ID. This also arms to keep the screen close to the edges. They even order a special bent OLED display from Samsung, helping the control circuit to be placed under the screen rather than at the bottom like other smartphones.
Of course, there are still restrictions that Apple did not overcome yet. In 2017, they had no way to integrate the front camera and fingerprint sensor below the screen yet. So Apple just had to cut the screen, just replaced the fingerprint sensor with Face ID, some details make many people regret.
The top missing screen, therefore, has just shown the technological limitations that Apple has not yet overcome, also shown that this firm is still at the forefront of technology solutions in 2017.
Only copy in appearance but not learned in technology
In 2018, Android firms followed that design trend of Apple massively. However, most companies only copy the missing top screen and cannot copy Apple’s technologies. Until mid-2018, the high-end models of Huawei, Xiaomi could integrate the face unlock sensor cluster as close as iPhone X.
Because it is impossible to place a curved screen from Samsung, the lower bezel of the copy devices is also very thick, not as thin evenly as the iPhone X. The following appearance and cannot copy technology shows Apple’s superiority compared to the Android world, at least until the first half of 2018.
The creative efforts, though not perfect yet of the Android world
The advantage of Android manufacturers compared to Apple is diversity. With dozens of phone firms, including about 10 outstanding brands, the Android world is capable and motivated to find out the alternative solutions instead of copying Apple.
Vivo is the pioneer brand for the slide camera trend with the NEX. Shortly, brother Oppo launched the Find X with front/rear camera cluster and sensors sliding from the inner body. Oppo Find X is one of the first phones to have a slider camera.
At the end of 2018, Xiaomi followed the trend with Mi Mix 3 using a sliding camera. Oppo continues to come up with a more unique design on the Reno, using a “shark fin” slide structure. Samsung also refreshes a similar solution, which is the Galaxy A80 with a camera mechanism that just slid and turned.
Although creating a unique appearance, the camera must slide, rotating every time you want to take pictures. This can make the durability of these products lower than the normal design.
Firms always insist they have tested carefully and given a number of tens of thousands of operation times, equivalent to 8-10 years of use. Still, durability is still the most worry thing of slider camera design.
In addition to sliding camera design, Android firms also think of making a smaller front camera. It helps to reduce the size of the screen missing. Samsung Galaxy S10 has a hole at the front corner for the camera, while the Huawei P30 Pro uses a “water drop” design. This design has just gone close to the goal of “bezel overflowing” while ensuring the durability of the product.
For fingerprint sensors, Android firms have integrated optical sensors below screen from 2018. Till 2019, Samsung has brought ultrasonic sensors with higher accuracy, using even when wet hands.
Currently, Android smartphone companies have found out solutions to replace “rabbit ears”, though not perfect solutions yet.
Overcome the Apple’s shadow
In early June, Oppo and Xiaomi revealed consecutively the front camera design placed below the screen. According to the description from Xiaomi, they use the “low reflective glass and high transmittance” technology right above the camera.
In the drawing shared by Xiaomi Vice President – Wang Xiang, two layers of screen electrodes use materials with low reflectivity for making, almost transparent. Xiaomi even said this glass also acts as a lens for the front camera.
When this design becoming reality will enable overflow screen and not need the screen missing, which is also the ambition that Apple aims for.
Of course, both Xiaomi and Oppo devices are just demo versions, shared in videos with medium quality, so it’s hard to comment on the quality of the camera.
According to Ars Technica, the production of glass materials are both good display and transparent the same as “transparent” camera lenses so much hard. Therefore, companies are only in the testing process. They still not put into commercial products yet, even till 2020 is still not sure to have.
However, the past journey over 1 year shows the continuous efforts of Android firms. Their passion has contributed greatly to promote the progression of the smartphone world. If without the creativity, next year we still have only “rabbit ears” as the standard. The iPhone 2019, according to the leaked images, still has a screen missing part like the iPhone X.
In 2018, BGR has published an article claiming that Apple had lured Android firms into a “death trap” with missing screen design. BGR’s writer suggests that Android firms only copy, and will soon have to give in to Apple on the ability to optimize missing part.
The fact shows that the Android world has completely surpassed the trend of copying Apple and created its own future.