Smartphone displays have been pretty standard for the past few years. And while other aspects of phones have seen some kind of advancement and innovation. The screen segment has somewhat remained the same. Well, except for the increased screen resolution and the use of OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and
AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) which consumes less power compared to LCDs and IPS-LCDs display.

As much this is a bit of an upgrade in the screen department. It still doesn’t bring that wow factor, and most people couldn’t even make out the difference between an IPS/IPS-LCDs and OLED/AMOLED display when used on a smartphone. Everything changed when the aspect ratio changed.

The Arrival Of The 18:9 and 19:9 Aspect Ratio On Latest Smartphones

The “18:9 Aspect Ratio” and “19:9 Aspect Ratio” also know as the bezel-less display, Edge to edge display, Infinity Display or notched display have been thrown around a lot this past year, but it is surprising how little we know of it or how we got here. You see, an aspect ratio is just a way of calculating how big a screen is and how wide it is relative to its height. Going by this, an 18 or 19 in the aforementioned aspect ratios stands for the height while 9 stands for its width.

Before we got to the 18:9 and 19:9 aspect ratios we’ve been seeing in recent phones, we first had the 16:9 which we all thought was pretty standard until 18:9 came, followed by 19:9 not too far behind. This was done in order to be able to fit more content on the screen. And while some were happy about this innovation, some others were not; citing their short thumb and being unable to reach the top of their screen comfortably on an 18:9 or 19:9 Phone.

Why the Leap from 16:9 to 18:9?

Numerous Smartphone manufacturers have incorporated the 18:9 aspect ratio to most of their phone since the rise of the technology last year. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus including the more recent Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus among others are all sporting fewer bezels. Now, If you’ve used or currently using any 18:9 or 19:9 device. You’d agree with me when I say it is a welcomed development and the only reason why the leap was made was to get a much taller display without the phone getting bigger or even increasing in length.

Honestly, I’ve personally wondered why it took this long for the screen to get taller as I’ve always considered the space at the top and bottom of bezels to be somewhat Abnormally big and useless. After the 18:9 came, I thought that would stay for a while before phasing out. However, I was very wrong as the bezels kept getting smaller and smaller and then I knew another aspect ratio on phones was imminent.

Why the Notch?

Personally, I would say the 19:9 Aspect Ratio or full-screen display like some call it was a little bit premature. It came at a time when the phone industry was still getting accustomed to the new 18:9 aspect ratio. Apple decided to stretch further with a 19:9 iPhone X without first creating an 18:9 smartphone. Now, Apple wasn’t the first to produce a phone with a notch, but it definitely made it popular. The first being a phone company called essential with their Essential Phone PH-1.

However, to achieve all screen display, a small portion of the screen at the top center still had to be taken by some necessities; camera, speaker grill, Sensors and Face ID as there was no other place to put it. This brought about the notched display with other smartphone makers emulating the trend. Phones sporting the notched display include OnePlus 6, Xiaomi Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 SE, Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei Honor 10, Umidigi Z2 Pro and a host of other devices.

However, that also seems to be phasing out quicker than I anticipated as phone makes are already actively looking for ways to bring a true full-screen display to reality.

Edge-to-edge Display; Where will the Notch Go?

Achieving a true full-screen display is pretty easy. That is if you find somewhere to fit everything in the notch or top bezels. This seems to be harder than it looks like a lot of phone makers have been giving it their best shot. It first started with Xiaomi trying it out on the Mi Mix and also the Mi Mix 2 and then theĀ Mi Mix 2s. What Xiaomi did was to bring the camera all the way down to the bottom bezel of the phone while using a piezoelectric speaker grill which emits sounds from underneath the screen as the top of the phone basically has no top bezel to house them.

The same piezoelectric speaker was also used on the Vivo NEX S to somewhat achieve the same feat. However, instead of bringing the camera down to the bottom bezel. They opted for a pop-up camera that pops out from the top left side of the device whenever you need to take a picture and also slides back in when not in use.

Oppo also took a cue from Vivo as they also implemented a popping up camera in their latest device; The Oppo Find X. Although they modified it a little by bit by making the whole top of device housing both the front camera and back camera slide up when needed and back down when not in use, somewhat similar to the Vivo NEX S.

Xiaomi seems to be pushing the boundaries of the display once again as there are reports circulating about the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 arriving soon with pop up camera, much like the Vivo NEX S Smartphone. Now we all know that a pop-up camera on a smartphone equals an edge-to-edge display, but we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for this.

Are Pop-Up Cameras Here To Stay?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of moving parts on Smartphones (similar to slide out). Moving parts on phones are generally not considered to be durable and more likely to get damaged. Nevertheless, it seems as if we would see a lot of that in the future as a lot of Smartphone manufacturers seems to be hopping on this trend.

I guess we’ve got no other choice than to accept this. Well, unless a way to put the camera beneath the display is Discovered as everything seems to be going underneath these days. (Speaker and Fingerprint)

If popping cameras become the order of the day, then I guess we have no choice but to move with the crowd I guess? Anything for that true full screen, edge-to-edge display right?

What Is The Future Of Smartphone Displays?

The phone display segment is pretty maxed out at this point. Apart from the Edge-to-edge display we are starting to see, I think only two things that can happen from here on out; A foldable screen which Samsung is reportedly working on including in their Samsung Galaxy X device and A Dual Screen Device(One big screen at the front and a Smaller one at the back). Which Meizu has also implemented long ago in their Meizu Pro 7 and Meizu Pro 7 Plus. This dual display setup enables you to take selfies with the back camera by utilizing the secondary display at the back.

Wrapping Up

That’s pretty much everything on smartphone displays and what to expect in the coming years when it comes to displays on smartphones. These are obviously my thoughts and predictions, and anything can happen. We would like to hear your thoughts and predictions about phone displays so make sure to drop a comment Down below.

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