Samsung Has A Brilliant Plan To Kill The Notch

Samsung Has A Brilliant Plan To Kill The Notch
Image: Samsung/Lifehacker

Samsung is planning to revolutionise the smartphone industry – and notched displays could be first on the chopping block. The company recently unveiled a cavalcade of new technologies in development, including “under-screen” sensors and cameras. Yes, cameras. This changes everything.

It’s fair to say that the smartphone industry has become somewhat stagnant of late. Each new flagship model looks much like its predecessor and phone sales have flatlined accordingly. In short, something fresh is needed to reinvigorate the buying public – and Samsung is looking to deliver just that.

During the 2018 Samsung OLED Forum in China yesterday, the company revealed some of the technology that will drive its next generation of smartphones. The chief details have since been shared on Twitter by the serial Samsung sleuths at Ice Universe:

There’s a lot to unpack in this slide, which mentions an onscreen fingerprint reader, a speaker built into the display, improved haptic feedback for gaming and new Face ID tech. But by far the most intriguing revelation is something called UPS or ‘Under Panel Sensor’.

According to Ice Universe, UPS functionality will extend to the camera and iris scanner, which means the front-facing camera will be hidden underneath the display.

Presumably, the sensors will ‘float’ beneath the glass with a semi-opaque design that won’t obstruct viewability, like the render above. Or maybe the display pixels will peel back to reveal the lens underneath, like magic. At this point, all we have to go on is the tantalising presentation slide above.

However the effect is achieved, it will make true edge-to-edge phone screens possible for the first time, with no bezels, pop-up cameras or notches to spoil the illusion. The image below, which was also leaked by Ice Universe, could be a working prototype.

For users who hate notched displays, this is a big deal. Lest we forget, the notch has appeared on almost every flagship smartphone released in 2018. (In the past month alone, it has popped up on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, Nokia 7.1, Google Pixel 3 XL, Huawei Mate20 Pro and the iPhone XR in various shapes and sizes.)

If Samsung’s UPS technology works, it will doubtlessly be adopted by the rest of the industry which would effectively end the notch design’s monopoly on flagship smartphones. For many smartphone users, that in itself will be cause for celebration.

Unfortunately, Samsung did not share any dates for when these new technologies will be rolling out. According to Samsung Mobile News, UPS is currently limited to a handful of prototypes and may not feature in retail phones until 2020.

In the meantime, people hungry for something new will have to make do with Samsung’s folding smartphone which will reportedly be hitting store shelves in the next few months.

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[Via AusDroid]


  • I think Samsung have made the best looking phones for 3 years in a row, this would make it 4! Notches are lazy/cheap design glad Samsung never went down that route.

      • Which was the last Samsung phone you used, out of curiosity? The S8 and onwards have drastically less intrusive Touchwiz that’s (in my experience at least) quite close to the stock experience. A lot of the clutter was pushed to optional installs instead of defaults.

        • The S8 actually.

          I really dislike all the custom apps they install. Phone / Message / contacts etc. You have to do a whole bunch of messing around with Samsung phones to get them right. Which is a shame as they make the best Android hardware.

          I just don’t think they can compete when it comes to software with what Apple and Google do. But yeah, it was definitely much improved over the janky old S5 I once had.

          • You really dont have to do much messing around. Uninstall/disable apps you dont want, Download nova and the rest of the apps that cant be disabled.
            10 minutes and youve gotten rid of pretty much every annoying pre-installed app and it looks like straight Android OS thanks to nova.

        • While you are right, and touchwiz has long gone. It’s still got Samsung shit all over it and I can’t stand it either.
          And they still lag behind most manufacturers when it comes to updates.

          Sucks because I do adore their hardware.

  • Why would you come up with something “new” and give it the same acronym as an existing product already long-established in the technology world?

    When I saw “UPS” for mobile phone, I thought someone was having a laff.

  • Notch outcry… soon to be replaced by dot outcry…

    I can’t wait to hear the first breaking newsflash because someone misread a word covered up by the dot and burnt their coffee, or drove into a lake, or electrocuted their gerbil, or…

    And they call me a bonehead?!?!?!

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