Huawei Registers Patent at USPTO for In-display Earpiece Hole Design on the Smartphone

Huawei has registered a new patent at the USPTO that sees a new design utilize a cutout in the display.


While most smartphones have embraced the notch display in 2018 we could be about to enter a new phase with Huawei looking to create a new design for its smartphones. Huawei has registered a new patent at the USPTO that sees a new design utilize a cutout in the display.

The notch was introduced on smartphones to allow OEM’s to expand the screen and reduce the bezel but still needed somewhere to put the front-facing sensors and camera. The preferred design was to simply cut out a portion of the display to house these sensors. While it works, the notch isn’t exactly to everyone’s taste and therefore the introduction of the notch, while fixing one challenge, introduced another. Huawei has submitted a patent that shows a horizontal cutout in the display for the earpiece, which is one of the components usually situated in the notch.

Huawei Patent

The image below shows the patent design that was submitted on September 2 back in 2016 and published on November 6, 2018. The device pictured has very minimal bezels and a cutout in the display to house an earpiece but interestingly there is no sign of a front-facing camera. The device pictured is simply a render and the topic of the patent is the earpiece cutout, but it leaves a very big unanswered question of where the camera would be positioned with this design.

We could see a design very similar to that of the OPPO Find X whereby a slider mechanism is used to reveal the front-facing camera but the device doesn’t appear to have any added thickness that would suggest a slide-out camera. It could be that Huawei has integrated the camera under the display as well, which isn’t completely out of the question.

The rear of the device appears to suggest a dual camera array and what could be either a centrally placed fingerprint sensor or a third camera as it could be possible the device has an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Is this the next Huawei device?

As far as other details of the device go, it appears to have a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the device and a USB Type-C charging cable. The patent application obviously focuses on showcasing specific detail pertinent to the patent so it is likely that Huawei simply omitted various details from the image. It could also be that this cutout implementation may have been a design method that was once considered and has since evolved beyond the earpiece to include a camera and all other associated sensors.

Another simple analogy is that the patent describes a technology that we will never see in a final device like many other patent ideas have been considered and never executed in the past.

One thing is for sure is that while 2018 was the year that saw the notch widely adopted amongst smartphone manufacturers, 2019 will be the year that we see OEM’s innovate beyond the notch for truely bezel-less devices. That could mean sliding mechanisms to reveal the camera, that could mean cutouts in the display to house various front-facing elements – only time will tell.

If this does turn out to be the next Huawei device, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Would you prefer a notch in the display to house the front-facing sensors and camera, or a cutout in the display like the patent suggests?