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ZTE says 'screw it,' designs phone with two notches (Update: official patent spotted)
Update (04/25): Hide your eyes, notch haters. ZTE’s dual-notched phone concept is creeping closer to reality.
According to the filing date on a newly-uncovered design patent, ZTE has apparently been mulling a full-screen device with both a top and bottom notch since September last year. The patent has now been published by China’s SIPO where it was spotted by Mobielkopen.
As you might have noticed from the images, however, the design patent differs slightly from the Iceberg concept. While there are minor changes to the top cutout, which is now far thinner, it’s the bottom notch which grabs the attention.
Instead of housing a speaker, the ‘chin’ notch now makes room for what looks to be a home button (a fingerprint sensor can still be seen on the rear). Below is a comparison helpfully created by the folks over at Mobielkopen.
Before you start grabbing those pitchforks, it’s worth noting that this is still just a patent. Tech companies file hundreds of design patents every year and the vast majority never amount to an end product. There’s also ZTE’s U.S. supply ban to consider, which may have forced the OEM to put its more out-there plans on the backburner.
Original coverage (04/25): Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t like smartphone display notches. Poll after poll, including one run here at Android Authority, confirms that the majority of smartphone consumers don’t care much for the notch. ZTE must not be listening, because it designed a new smartphone that features not one but two notches, via IF World Design Guide.
The ZTE Iceberg (which is probably a code name and not the name that will hit the market) purportedly uses a new technique to fuse two pieces of glass to make one unibody. So the front and back of the ZTE Iceberg are made of glass, and it seems like the whole thing was carved out of a block of ice since you won’t be able to see the fuse line between the two panes.
While it sounds like repairing the ZTE Iceberg will be an absolute nightmare, you have to give the company some props for doing something a little different with its designs. The corners of the phone display are curved, not unlike the Google Pixel 2 XL, and the corners of the phone bezel itself are transparent glass, giving it a unique (and imminently breakable) look.
But the thing your eye will most be drawn to is the bottom notch. Whereas many current and upcoming phones feature a notch at the top of the display, the ZTE Iceberg features a second notch at the bottom that houses a speaker and most likely a microphone.
One of the most common criticisms we hear about display notches is that they ruin the symmetrical nature of the device. So maybe ZTE is crazy like a fox in this regard, as adding a notch to the bottom of the phone definitely makes the device look more symmetrical than say, the OnePlus 6.
The ZTE Iceberg is just a concept for now. Even if it were to head to production, it is unlikely we’d see it hit a market in 2018.
What do you think? Are two notches better than one? Or is any notch a bad notch?
NEXT: Turned off by the notch? Cover it up with this free app!