No, the iPhone X wasn't first to market with a notch, but neither was the Essential Phone (poll results)

Yesterday, we asked if you know which notch-y phone was first to make it to the markets worldwide, and, yes, the question included smaller-than-iPhone-X notches that only house the selfie camera, or the camera and earpiece. About 64% of our 3634 respondents said it was the Essential Phone's notch protrusion that goes around the front cam that was released to the public first. 

In fact, Sharp's Aquos S2 pre-dated its release with a few days - August 14 vs August 17 for Essential - although it was never launched stateside, but rather hit the markets in Asia. Sharp has been making "bezel-less" phones before it was cool, and its EDGEST "tri-bezel" designs still resonate as innovative. 

We digress, though, as we are talking about the S2 here, which landed last summer, and was available to purchase a few days before you could press the buy button on the Essential's website. The S2 hosts a 5.5" display with the now-trendy 18:9 aspect ratio, in a 141.8 x 72 x 7.9 mm (5.58 x 2.83 x 0.31 in) body, which is a pretty good feat, yet it's the notch-y achievement that piques our interest here. Well, Sharp's phone biz got acquired by Foxconn not long ago, and they are the ones that assemble the X, but we digress again.

The small top bezel protrusion of the S2 swirls around the front-facing camera and the earpiece, which is housed beneath it, and emits the sound via a small pipe that takes its opening to the top rim of the phone, pretty cool design decision. How did Sharp make it? Well, it's been touting a technology called Free Form Display (FFD) for its IGZO LCD screens since at least 2015, demonstrating the shape-shifting abilities at screen expos, as you can see in the video below. 

Sharp's FFD is achieved by moving the display circuitry out of its traditional panel bezel place, and integrating it into the pixels themselves, thus letting the screen go around any obstacle (like a notch protrusion). It even allows for circular phones, and, funny thing, we can't help but think that notches are just a harbinger of things to happen with mobile displays or handset designs in general, what do you think?

Do you know which was the first phone with a notch?

Apple iPhone X
Sharp Aquos S2
Essential Phone

Related phones

  • Display 5.7 inches
    2560 x 1312 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB,
  • Battery 3040 mAh
  • OS Android 10



22. elnino3800

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 26, 2019

I think that Motorola F3 (Motofone) was first phone witch notch

21. trqster

Posts: 177; Member since: May 17, 2013

Sharp does it better! Everyone know that.

20. Sparkxster

Posts: 1277; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

I got it right! I knew Sharp was first, then Essential, Apple, and the others after :-)

19. kevin007in

Posts: 327; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

so they all r copy cats

16. Bondurant

Posts: 787; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Moral of the story, Apple ripped it off from Android.

18. yalokiy

Posts: 1164; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Also from dumb phone released in 2006 - Motorola MOTOFONE F3.

10. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

htc butterfly/droid dna had a speaker notch, that's the first one I guess

9. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

A few days? Really? That's the same as the two smartphones being released on the same day, even in the smartphone world. Sharp also pushes out a ton of conceps 24/7, but they never get a real release like other smartphones. It's always very confined.

3. Jacksie66 unregistered

You could argue that the LG v10 was the first phone with a notch. LG showed schematics for a proper notch with the LG v20.

8. KingSam

Posts: 1563; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

But it 2 separate screens not one with a cutout.

2. cmdacos

Posts: 4429; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Apple copied their verticle camera design too

6. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Yes, Apple was aiming to compete with them

12. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Well, the ifans and the media insist, that Apple even if not first in many things, implement them perfectly. Sorry but not this time. Wow fugly:):) (see *11) Not even with Apple Pay- Samsung Pay took the crown there. Not in multi-window , too. Not in one-hand operation mode. Not the Apple Pencil (hot-dog with battery)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless