Google sets some ground rules for notch displays

A smartphone with a list of notch options on its display

Google lays down the law on notches so OEMs can’t screw them up

We haven't really seen any devices with more than one notch so far. In the blog post posted by Megan Potoski, Product Manager, Android System UI, highlights that Google is working with device manufacturers to mandate a few requirements. They could make such a device but Google would likely reprimand them for it.

"In portrait orientation with no special flags set, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout".

Because Android is open source, Google can't truly stop any manufacturer from making a device with three notches for some reason (for the record, one should be the absolute maximum). In a move that most Android users will surely consider a blessing, the company has said that handset manufacturers should include no more than two notches on a device, they can only appear at the top and bottom of the screen, and a screen edge may only feature a single notch. With Apple going for the notch on their flagship iPhone X, the notch has been considered as the guideline for narrow-bezel- design displays this year.

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Specifically, Google is limiting the number of notches - or "cutouts", as they're technically called - to two.

For developers, this means all app windows "will be letterboxed so that none of your content is displayed in the cutout area", regardless of whether they're in landscape or full-screen mode.

It was always unlikely, but this rules out the triple-notched Android phone you've all been dreading.

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It is already known that Android P will support cutouts of various sizes so that apps are better optimised for any and all notches.

Apart from giving developers tips on "taking advantage of the cutout area" and testing their apps with the cutout, Google notes that it ensured that hardware partners will also follow certain rules for efficient app compatibility across all phones with display notches. To that end, Google says you "won't see multiple cutouts on a single edge, or more than two cutouts on a device", and you "won't see a cutout on the left or right long edge of the device".

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