Holes Are The New Notches, According To A Recent LG Patent

Image: LG

The notch is going to go down as one of the shortest-lived features in smartphone history, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely done with screen cutouts just yet. In a recent patent filing from South Korea, it seems LG is looking to evolve the notch by turning it into a hole.

According to Let’s Go Digital, which first spied the patent, the idea behind the hole in the screen is to further reduce the footprint needed for a phone’s front-facing camera while simultaneously increasing a device’s screen-to-body ratio.

Additionally, because the front-facing camera wouldn’t need to be anchored to the edge of a display, it could give LG a little more flexibility on where exactly that front-facing camera needs to go. In the filing, LG shows holes on phones with both traditional flat edges and curvier rounded sides, which suggests that its holed displays should be fairly flexible when it comes to dictating the rest of a phone’s design.

However, there doesn’t seem to be an explanation for why the hole in the filing is ovular rather than circular, though that could imply LG intends to cram more than one camera behind its cutout.

The worrying thing is that, while LG’s proposed display will probably shave off an extra per cent or two of wasted screen real estate, the whole idea already seems inferior to the under panel sensor tech recently detailed by Samsung at its 2018 OLED Forum. 

That’s because, instead of crudely cutting out a hole in a phone’s display for a selfie cam, Samsung’s goal is to put cameras beneath a phone’s display and then simply turn off any pixels blocking the camera’s field of view when you want to take a picture. This way, front-facing cameras or other sensors can be completely hidden during normal usage.

To be fair to LG, it can take months for a patent to go from filed to published, at least in the U.S. And there’s no guarantee the company is actually going to incorporate this design into its devices. But it does give us an indication of where they’re heads are at.

So while LG’s holes are probably a slight upgrade over notches, they still feel like another stop-gap measure in the overarching dream of creating all-screen phones. But what do you think: Holes versus notches, which one is better?