Google has now laid down the law of the land when it comes to phone notches — a mobile device shouldn't have more than two, the company says.
The Mountain View, California, search company developed notch support for Android P fairly recently after phone makers started copying the iPhone X design. So now it wants to enforce some ground rules in case anyone is planning to go crazy with their respective notch design.
A Phone Can't Have This Many Notches, According To Google
In a blog post addressing developers, Android UI product manager Megan Potoski said that Google is working with device partners to "mandate a few requirements" for app compatibility purposes. Notch limits are among those requirements.
Android P devices can't have more than two notch cutouts. Manufacturers are only allowed to put a single notch on each side of the device, and they're not allowed to put them on the left and right portions of a surface — only the top and bottom.
Granted, no manufacturers have come out with more than one notch thus far, so Google's preemptive strike on the notch craze is all theoretical. Even still, there's reason to believe multi-notch phones are going to happen eventually, so Google's thought process must have been, "They're going to go insane with notches; might as well set ground rules now."
The restrictions don't mean that Google intends to interfere with manufacturer's design ideas for smartphones. Rather, they want to make sure Android P will run smoothly and look user-friendly on any device, notch or no notch. Companies are welcome to design phones with more than two notches. Heck, they can even go completely bonkers and put 23 notches in there, but they will have to find another operating system that can support that because Android P simply won't accommodate that kind of design.
Why Google Is Laying Down Notch Restrictions
The real point to these restrictions, as The Verge notes, is to make sure apps run properly no matter which device they're installed in. It's necessary for Google to enforce these rules because some notches cut into the actual content on screen, making it hard to see them clearly. Android P wants to make sure that never happens.
"The good news is, for the most part your app should work as intended even on a cutout device," according to Potoski.
The final version of Android P is supposed to roll out near the end of summer, though it likely won't make its way to commercial devices until the end of fall. Google says Android now runs on 16 phones with notches from a number of different companies, and that is likely to grow in the coming year.