Google sets down ground rules for notch support on Android P

Android Smartphone Notch Rules

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

It was always unlikely, but this rules out the triple-notched Android phone you've all been dreading. In a developer-oriented blog post published Tuesday, Google revealed a few new guidelines for Android phonemakers to follow in the future.

We are yet to see phones with two notches, but Google is predicting a possible future where that happens and is making sure the number stays at two and no more than that. Here's a lowdown given by Google to all manufacturers. Someday the screen notch will be a distant memory, but until it is, we're going to have to deal with the notch as a design element to be lauded, not the necessary stopgap we all know it is.

These guidelines should mean that all apps display properly whatever phone you're using.

To be clear, there aren't any mainstream devices with more than one notch available at the moment.

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Among the other notch-related requirements that are spelled out so that devices with notches don't negatively affect the way apps run, the status bar has to extend to at least the height of the notch in portrait mode. The final version of Android P is supposed to be out soon, of course, so points to Google for at least looking down the road and trying to get a little ahead of the game.

According to Android System UI product manager Megan Potoski, Google's rules for cutouts were drawn up in an effort to ensure that developers' apps would be cutout-ready, asking them to consider such things as how their "content is displayed relative to the cutout".

"During our user research we have often seen status bars filled with icons on Android devices".

Like it or not, notch life has become a thing this year with Android manufacturers producing a number of phones this year - 16 cutout devices from 11 OEMs already released - and with Android P set to bring official support for the notch, Google has started laying some ground rules. Additionally, a device with notches to the side would rather eat into the screen space instead of liberating more.

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