No one likes it when a piece of useful functionality disappears, which is why people were left (understandably) annoyed by HMD Global taking away the ability for the Nokia 6.1 Plus to hide its display notch — done by placing black bars on its right and left.
At the time, a representative from the company claimed that it was a “Google requirement” (according to SlashGear), but now HMD’s chief product officer has taken to Twitter to say that the functionality will be returning after all.
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Initially, we thought that the functionality had disappeared because the Nokia 6.1 Plus is an Android One phone, meaning that HMD had committed to running the phone on stock Android (8.1 Oreo to be exact).
Android One has become a popular alternative to the bulky skins and pre-loaded apps that manufacturers like to fill up their handsets with, but it comes with certain restrictions that manufacturers have to adhere to.
The logic went that one such restriction was about hiding the notch, which Android 8 wasn’t explicitly designed for. If stock Android doesn’t allow for a certain piece of functionality, the internet reasoned, it seemed manufacturers couldn’t add it themselves.
As it turns out, this wasn’t true at all.
At the time, there were fears that the upcoming notch-equipped Google Pixel 3 XL would suffer a similar fate if Google’s policies prevented stock Android phones from hiding the notch — but now we’re far less certain.
After all, Android Pie, which was released under a month ago, was obviously designed in an era where display notches were becoming increasingly popular, and it includes much better support for the display type.
What it doesn’t do, however, is include any native means for hiding the notch. As such, despite the Google Pixel 3 XL being heavily rumoured to feature a sizeable notch, it still seems unlikely that it’ll have any inbuilt ability to hide it — short of this being included as part of the Pixel 3’s custom launcher.
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But now that Google seems to have a more relaxed stance on the notch, it could all be to play for. We’ll just have to wait and see what Google announces on October 9th.
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