Say what you will about those cutouts that can be found at the top of most smartphones these days (they call them notches) but it looks like they are not about to disappear as fast as some of us would want them to.
That is mainly because it’s not quite easy technically to achieve a full screen experience without factoring in what becomes of the all-important front-facing camera and the earpiece which is what really puts the “phone” in smartphone.
Apple came up with a quick and easy workaround back in 2017: a notch. Simply put, it’s the one place that houses everything that would traditionally dot the top of a smartphone display so that the rest is left for content showcase. Front-facing camera sensor, proximity sensor, notification LED (where applicable), front-facing camera LED flash… Since then, everyone has followed suit.
As days have gone by and driven by the need to differentiate themselves, companies have adopted several measures (Essential, which had a notch before notches were “cool” is the exception here).
Some, like Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and others, have come up with innovative ways of releasing “all-screen” devices without really having to put up with the infamous notch. Others, including the same Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo, have gone ahead and shrunk the notch.
OnePlus and Oppo have been referring to their way of doing that as a “teardrop” since the decimated cutout clearly resembles a teardrop once the camera is accommodated.
That is the same arrangement that Huawei has implemented on its devices across the board from the budget Y series to the high-end P series. Only that in this case, the company has branded it a different name: dew drop notch.
A major player in the Kenyan and African smartphone market, Chinese company Transsion Holdings, has also been doing the same. With its devices rocking the big iPhone X-style cutout which can, thankfully, be hidden on newer devices like the Infinix Hot 7, and the kind of reach it has both in the country and the continent, it has been very integral in providing the first time experience on ‘notched’ device for many.
Now, in a few days, Infinix will be taking things a notch higher by introducing its first smartphone with a shrunken notch, a teardrop notch.
While details of the device are sketchy at this point, thanks to the company’s teasers on social media, we know that it will be from its S series. Infinix S4, anyone?
The Infinix S series has had a some firsts before. For instance, the first generation S device was the one that was the first from Infinix to pack a fingerprint sensor. A spinoff of the third generation heralded the notch on Infinix. So, the 4th generation Infinix S device and its teardrop notch are in good company.
Going into the launch, it will be interesting to observe how the device will be packaged and presented since the S series has had something akin to an identity crisis.
The first generation device was called Hot S. The second generation appeared to drop the Hot branding and, as far as we are concerned, was simply the Infinix S2 (it also had a Pro variant which we reviewed).
Last year, we had the Infinix Hot S3 which debuted as a Safaricom exclusive. Initially, just like is the case with this early tease, we had been made to believe that it would be just the Infinix S3 but that was not to be as the device was packed as Hot S3. Then, immediately after it, came a curious device that introduced the notch, as we’ve known it, to Infinix: the awkwardly-named Infinix Hot S3X.
Curiously, the graphic (which happens to be this article’s featured image above) that Infinix is using to tease the S4 makes no mention of the Hot S3.
So, will Infinix clear up the confusion and distinguish the S series from its entry-level Hot series? At least name-wise since functionality and feature-wise, the S lineup has already made a name for itself for bringing good cameras and camera-related features (remember wefies anyone?) to the budget smartphone market. We’ll get to find out real soon when the device becomes available.