back to article Phone-free Microsoft patents Notch-free phone

"The Notch"* is either the curse of 2018 phone designs – or the only interesting thing about boring phone designs in 2018, depending on how you look at it. Now details of a Microsoft phone patent have emerged that could make future phones less Notchy. As a design feature The Notch came to prominence last summer in the first …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The necessity...?

    There may be a considerable overlap between people who can be persuaded that a "notch" is a "necessity" and people who can be persuaded to hand over a grand for a telephone, but it might be more objective to regard it less as a necessity and more as an £850 blinkenlight.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The necessity...?

      Ah, the "people who decide (for whatever reason) to spend on more money than me on something have stupid preferences" argument. Yes, right, we should all think the same things you do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The necessity...?

        Yeah, that's what this is about. Not that a display with a chunk missing out of the top is a stupid idea.

  2. djstardust Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Any chance of fixing Skype, Office and you know ..... Windows 10 before wasting time and money on shit like this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear

      "Any chance of fixing Skype, Office and you know ..... Windows 10"

      Those all work just fine here. Suspect problem exists between chair and keyboard.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh dear

      Microsoft are merely continuing the policy of their only meaningful contribution to the mobile phone industry being negative. They were forced down this route when some asshole there with zero vision rolled around laughing at the iPhone, so obliterating themselves from the future of personal computing.

      I hear Bill Gates is no longer even on speaking terms with Blamer. Chuckle.

      1. bdam
        Mushroom

        Re: Oh dear

        You can say that again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFe0S3F389w

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear

      Microsoft wants to get the patents first so it can collect money in future; either another company coughs up the patent fee, or Microsoft sues it for payment.

      Microsoft earned billions from Android. Look it up.

      As a tech company, if you can't compete based on the merit of your own products, becoming a patent troll is another way to collect additional pocket money. Not the first time, and Microsoft isn't the only one guilty of it.

    4. Lusty Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh dear

      "Any chance of fixing Skype, Office and you know ..... Windows 10 before wasting time and money on shit like this?"

      Don't panic, I hear MS will be hiring a second developer any day now so they'll be able to run more than one project at a time

  3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "The Notch was originally pioneered by Dave Hill of Slade"

    I seem to recall that Genesis- era Peter Gabriel was fairly firmly notched:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-AnrFsL48Sf0/TzKYENwnz5I/AAAAAAAAHW4/BkWYuMNZTQo/s1600/PeterGabrielChameleon.jpg

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: "The Notch was originally pioneered by Dave Hill of Slade"

      It's a tribute to Vic and Bob that I'm not entirely sure that the photo in the article isn't actually Dave Hill and Noddy Holder...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My phone is already Notch-free

    I don't have Minecraft installed.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I don't see why having a few mm of bezel around the edge of the phone to house the camera, microphone etc was ever a problem. Does making the screen a few mm large by getting rid of this bezel really give you that more usable screen space?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, just in case it becomes a problem then don't worry - Microsoft will come to the rescue!

      (or sue the company helping you)

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      I don't see why having a few mm of bezel around the edge of the phone to house the camera, microphone etc was ever a problem. Does making the screen a few mm large by getting rid of this bezel really give you that more usable screen space?

      I know *I* prefer having a bezel on my devices. After all, you've got to be able to HOLD the farking thing without accidentally touching some object on the screen.

      Of course, I expect they'll give the Apple excuse; "You're holding it wrong". Yeah, hold *this*.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    18:9 ratio?

    Looks like 2:1 to me....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Party poopers

    They're not actually wanting to use this "idea", they'd just like to piss on companies who didn't fuck up their phones.

  8. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    I yearn for ....

    ... the days when I could read Th_______gister without a blasted notch.

    1. Trumpet Winsock
      Coat

      Re: I yearn for ....

      I read that as "The........... Ginster" and I'm hungry now.

      Mine's the one with the pasty in the pocket >>>>

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: I yearn for ....

        They always give me a gut ache.

        I'd rather have a Ivor Dewdney.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey You! You with the phone without a Notch!

    you owe us $500 for patent infringement.

    Naturally Apple will sit smugly by and carry on selling phones with notches.

    Seriously though, what idiot in the USPTO granted this POS!!!!

    They need to be taken outside and shown what a notch [redacted] can do.

    1. Snowy
      FAIL

      Re: Hey You! You with the phone without a Notch!

      Nobody did that is why the article reads "A patent application published yesterday" rather than "A patent granted yesterday"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey You! You with the phone without a Notch!

      "You with the phone without a Notch!

      you owe us $500 for patent infringement."

      If you bother to read the article, the patent is for various aspects of a new type of display.

  10. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The Notch: the curse of 2018 phone designs

    Why not just make 'the notch' occupy the entire top of the phone, instead of inserting a notch into the main display or at least restrict the display window to the main part of the screen so windows are not chopped off of the top.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: The Notch: the curse of 2018 phone designs

      But then the display would be 16:9 and that would be terrible because. . . reasons.

      Note to phone manufacturers: I don't want my screen to give the "illusion" of extending to infinity. I want it to be right there where I can see it.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Deja Moo

    Didn't Apple file the same patent? The patent office needs to be directed to refuse all patents that are obvious and trolling another company's future R&D that would make such designs cost effective.

  12. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I believe the notch was actually invented in ancient Japan by Richard Chamberlain and James Clavell.

  13. DougS Silver badge

    Hardly a new idea

    Sony is already selling TVs that use the screen as a speaker.

    The problem with going "notchless" (i.e. 100% of the front surface is screen) is that you have other bits like cameras that can't have pixels over the top of them.

    Unless you go to that goofy pop up front camera (something that's just waiting to break off or become permanently popped in or popped out (remember the pop up headlights that used to be a fad, and how you'd see cars driving around with one popped up?) and are able to make the screen work as a microphone also, it seems there will at least have to be a hole or two in the screen. Maybe the notch haters would object less to a small hole in the display, or maybe they'd hate it even more because they'd feel they are SO CLOSE to being all screen, but not quite...

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Hardly a new idea

      I enjoyed driving my TR7.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Hardly a new idea

        "I enjoyed driving my TR7."

        I didn't realise to many hairdressers read The Register.

    2. Montreal Sean

      Re: Hardly a new idea

      The microphone isn't on the front of all phones, most seem to be located in the bottom frame.

      Maybe they'll do away with the selfie camera. Less duck face has to be good.

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Hardly a new idea

      The selfie camera is easier to resolve than you think.

      You can control the screen so that the area covering the lens goes transparent when you want to use the camera. Might need some electromechanical system to ensure the backlight is uniform, but this is entirely solvable.

  14. YARR
    Thumb Down

    0th world problem

    "The notch" is such an irrelevance it signifies mobile phone design has reached it's zenith. Anyone seeking interesting work in product design should look elsewhere.

    Here's a suggestion: if phone companies are so concerned about size, why not invest some R&D money in creating thin but effective phone protectors, or does that not align with your profit motive? They're in common use, but they are chunky and run counter to the tactile experience of using an expensive phone. But the more expensive the phone, the more worthwhile the phone protector.

    If a phone can detect it's falling, it could trigger the protector to flare up like an airbag to provide better impact protection.

    Another problem: if manufacturers produce edge to edge displays, the phone protector can't grip around them without obscuring the display.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The notch is just a temporary workaround achieved by sacrificing aesthetics (landscape mode eyesore)

    If the sensors get their size further reduced in future, they can be placed on the outer rim of the phone, thus negating the need for a notch.

    And there is no shame in putting small bezels on the top/bottom of the phone to accommodate the front facing sensors. Just throw in stereo speakers and a headphone jack, and most will be happy.

    For man-made stuff, asymmetry is never beautiful.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: The notch is just a temporary workaround

      The Catholic Church* disagrees with you.

      *Not a fan personally, but like a lot of authoritarian organisations it does have style.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: The notch is just a temporary workaround

        That's quite ok, because in turn I disagree with them as well. Call it OCD or whatever you like, but if it ain't substantially symmetrical I don't want it.

  16. ecarlseen

    Does anyone with a notch actually care?

    I've had an iPhone X more or less since they came out. The notched looked a little weird at first, and I haven't really thought about it since. There have been precisely zero times where it interfered with me watching a video. The most common 1.85:1 aspect ratio is unaffected unless you're stretching for width and chopping off a lot of the top and bottom of the picture, and 2.39:1 results in a very small amount of additional letterboxing (which you will have regardless).

    To me, the most appropriate view of the areas to the left and right of the notch is that they are "bonus space" for wireless info, clock, etc. If you got rid of the notch, that space would not be available for anything (movies or otherwise). There are no circumstances where it is a net loss, and in most circumstances it is a net gain. One might argue that it was a mistake for Apple to even make it possible to stretch video into the notch (I would make this case if I actually cared, which I don't), but other than that it's just a really weird discussion.

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