This Samsung patent could solve the iPhone X's notch problem

Why have a notch when you can put holes directly into the display?

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

The iPhone X's now-infamous notch stirred up plenty of controversy for cutting into the screen space. But Apple's notch just reflects a larger issue with newer phones: as screens begin to cover the entire face, what do we do with hardware such as home buttons and cameras?

Samsung patent application (first spotted by Dutch site LetsGoDigital) filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization seems to have an answer: put holes in the screen for hardware to poke through. In theory, this would allow for Samsung to completely get rid of the phone bezels you see bordering your screen, a design feature that's increasingly unfashionable.

Enlarge Image

The iPhone X's notch houses some important hardware, but cuts into the phone's screen.


Although the publication date is listed as Jan. 18, the two patents were originally filed in South Korea in July and October 2016, respectively. Samsung appears to be exercising its right to extend its patent application filing in countries other than South Korea. 

As always, submitting for a patent doesn't mean that it's been granted or will come to a product. But it is an indication of solutions and designs that companies are considering.  

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Samsung has a history of making new kinds of screens for its phones, with examples like the curved "Edge" screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge or the minimally bezeled "Infinity Display" on the Galaxy S8. There are even rumors that Samsung is working on a screen for a phone that folds in half.

The new patent application depicts the phone screen taking up more room on the phone's front by including tiny holes for sensors and hardware. This would allow for Samsung to embed things like cameras or speakers directly into the screen and not in the phone's bezels. This doesn't mean the sensors will be fully covered by the screen (you'll still see little holes) but it gets the phones closer to that 100 percent screen-to-body ratio, more so than a notch or thin bezels.

Take a look at the idea in the gallery below.

This Samsung screen patent is full of holes

See all photos

Does this type of design appeal to you, or have you gotten used to bezels or the notch on the iPhone X? As Samsung releases phones with higher and higher screen-to-body ratios, we may see similar designs.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.