The newly launched Essential Phone has a tiny ‘notch’ at the top of the front panel to accommodate the front camera and other sensors. Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8 will also have a similar (but much wider than Essential Phone) notch for features that cannot be hidden under the display. Samsung doesn’t want to be left behind in the race to shrink bezels as much as possible. Samsung’s next-gen flagship could also have a similar cutout at the top. But the Galaxy S9 notch won’t be directly borrowed from the iPhone 8 or Essential Phone.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Notch
Image Source: GalaxyS9Blog.com (screenshot)

Will the Galaxy S9 notch attract buyers?

A few weeks ago, Apple’s HomePod firmware revealed that the iPhone 8 would feature a cutout at the top that will house the 3D infrared sensor, ear speaker, and the front camera. The screen on either side of the cutout will display the icons for WiFi, cellular strength, battery, Bluetooth, and time. Now Dutch publication GalaxyClub has found evidence that Samsung has also been playing with a similar idea for more than a year.

With the iPhone 8 and Essential Phone adapting the cutout, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Galaxy S9 notch. A patent published by the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS) describes the cutout that could make its way into the Galaxy S9. The Korean regulator has approved the patent, which was originally filed in May 2016.

Galaxy S9 Notch
Image Credit: GalaxyClub.nl / KIPRIS (screenshot)

The cutout or ‘notch’ is designed to let the display cover the entire front panel without getting into the way of essential components. Samsung seems to have filed the patent long before the iPhone 8 leaks and rumors started surfacing. However, it’s difficult to say when Apple started working with Samsung Display on the iPhone 8 OLED panels. Samsung is the sole supplier of OLED screens for the 10th anniversary iPhone.

Even though the Korean company was working on a front panel with top ‘notch’ for more than a year, it opted to go ahead with the bezel-less Infinity display for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. The Infinity display leaves thin bezels at the top and bottom. The rumor mill had previously claimed that the S9 would stick to the same Infinity display as its predecessor.

Galaxy S9 specs: A more powerful processor but same RAM

Reliable sources recently told XDA Developers that the S9 would have model number SM-G960. There will also be a Galaxy S9 Plus. The new phones are said to have the same 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch display as the current Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. XDA Developers claims the new phones would offer only 4GB of RAM with 64GB internal memory. There will be a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

The Galaxy S9 will run Android 8.0 Oreo. It is said to be powered by Snapdragon 845 processor. The Korean electronics behemoth has secured the initial supply of Snapdragon 845, meaning other vendors will have to delay the launch of their flagship phones by a few weeks if they want to use the Snapdragon 845. However, the S9 will not have an optical fingerprint sensor. XDA Developers noted that the fingerprint scanner would remain on the rear panel.

The S9 will have a dual camera system on the back, just like the Galaxy Note 8 that will go on sale later this month. The Note 8 has a wide-angle and a telephoto lens on the back, both of which offer OIS. Other rumored Galaxy S9 features include the IP68 water-resistance rating, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Korean site ETNews claims the S9 would feature a Substrate-like PCB (SLP) mainboard. It will free up internal space to make the smartphone slimmer. Samsung could use the extra space to pack a bigger battery.

Galaxy S9 to be unveiled in January

The Investor reported last week that Samsung was planning to launch the Galaxy S9 earlier than usual. The development of its display panel began in April 2016, about 2-3 months before Samsung’s usual timeline. Sources told The Investor that the device would be announced in January next year, and would go on sale in February. This year’s Galaxy S8 became available on April 21st.

According to the publication, the earlier than usual launch schedule is aimed at defending Samsung’s market share against the iPhone 8. Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone is the most anticipated device of the year. The S9 OLED panels will start shipping in November. From there it would take about 2-3 months to fully assemble the initial batch. Display panels usually ship before any other components.

Do you like the idea of a Galaxy S9 notch? Let us know in the comments below.