Here's what Samsung's notch could soon look like

A notched Samsung smartphone seemed completely unimaginable just twelve months ago yet today they’re everywhere. Customers outside of the tech community have so far responded positively to the designs and Samsung isn’t expected to ditch them anytime soon. It might, however, introduce some important changes.

2020 Galaxy M & Galaxy A phones could feature a new notch

As noticed by LetsGoDigital, Samsung applied for two design patents in its home country of South Korea at the end of 2018. Both applications were approved in late July and published just a few weeks later, therefore granting Samsung permission to use what’s being dubbed a “next-generation notch” on its future smartphones.

The Seoul-based company already offers a range of displays – Infinity-U, Infinity-V, and Infinity-O – but the description of this latest one doesn’t align with any of them. Instead, it’s a blend of all three designs that makes use a small cut-out for the camera and a tiny strip that connects it to the upper bezel. Basically, if the punch hole was an island this is a peninsula.
Samsung’s patents envision two separate implementations of this layout. One would involve placing the notch on the left side of the display while the other envisions it being placed on the right. The type of panels Samsung would use for each isn’t specified but the left notch would likely be reserved for LCDs while the right may be used on AMOLED displays. If this is the case, Samsung’s low-end Galaxy M series and perhaps a handful of cheap Galaxy A-branded models could use the left notch next year while the remaining Galaxy A series model would likely opt for the other version.

A smaller punch hole could come to the Galaxy S11

Samsung’s 2020 flagships are expected to adopt Infinity-O displays just like this year’s devices but these new patents could still be an indicator of what’s to come. After all, the camera itself is surrounded by just a tiny bit of bezel which could mean Samsung’s future punch holes will see a significant reduction in size too, therefore making them noticeably less intrusive.
Per the latest rumors, this updated front panel design will be accompanied by an impressive quadruple-camera setup on the rear. Specifically, the Galaxy S11 is rumored to include a 108-megapixel main camera that’s similar to the one found on the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha, an ultra-wide-angle shooter, a dedicated Time-of-Flight sensor, and an upgraded telephoto camera capable of 5x optical zoom.

Full-screen phones may arrive in 2021 or 2022

Despite Samsung’s push to improve its existing display technologies, the company has certainly made no secret of the fact that creating the “perfect full-screen” smartphone is its end goal. This design involves in-display camera solutions which aren’t ready yet but could potentially be in 2021.If all goes well, next year could represent Samsung’s usual 12-month period of refinement before a major design refresh in 2021. That year, the company may also ditch the notch entirely in favor of punch hole technology on Galaxy A and Galaxy M-branded models.

If, on the contrary, Samsung hits some development bumps and can’t prepare the technology in time for 2021’s Galaxy S12 series, the South Korean giant could end up following a strategy that’s pretty similar to Apple’s. The latter first introduced the notch in 2017 and has since recycled the design twice, bringing its design refresh cycle to three years. But as mentioned above, Samsung is likely to continue making improvements so some changes are to be expected.

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