After the iPhone X was revealed with its now-iconic top notch, the hate and mockery flowed from Android fans and select iPhone enthusiasts alike. But that noise was soon replaced by the sound of copy machines from the same quarter, furiously printing out as many iPhone X-style notch clones as possible. Since then, it has become hard to spot a new Android phone without a notch, with or without a purpose.
Google was forced to address the growing Android notch problem because unlike iOS, Android was not designed to handle such a design feature. Original equipment manufacturers were including notches on their phones that made no sense and made the operating system look bad. As the keepers of the Android OS, Google was ultimately responsible to fix the problem.
One of those fixes was to include notch support in the OS. But Google did one better, or perhaps two. One of the new notch guidelines is that no device can have more than two notches, meaning phones with two notches would be okay. That said, they probably were not intending to be the first to present a phone with this Frankensteinian scenario. According to a first-hand report on the Verge, that is exactly what is happening.
“Well, this is an odd software glitch. Certain Pixel 3 XL units are displaying a second, virtual notch on the screen of the device. This is completely unrelated to the real, physical notch on the screen which houses both front-facing cameras, as well as sensors. The glitch is already being addressed by Google and will be fixed via an upcoming software update.”
— UrAvgConsumer (@UrAvgConsumer) October 24, 2018
While not an intentional Halloween gag, the sudden growth of a side notch on your new Pixel phone could be a source of fright to some users. But you can temporarily rid yourself of the notch by powering the phone completely down, and back on again.
This bug could not happen in an iPhone because the software simply doesn’t allow for it. There is no concept of a second notch on iOS like there is on Android. The fact is, an Android phone could be produced with a side notch just like the one showing up on the Pixel. The restriction is that Android phone makers cannot place two notches on the same edge.
Two Android phones have recently bucked the notch trend by eliminating it altogether. They have created a screen that slides down to reveal the camera and a camera that lifts up from behind the screen. Now that we have seen what two notches on a phone looks like, there’s a good chance that no one will go that route on purpose.