Essential Phone had the notch before the iPhone X was even out — and a far smaller one, too. However, unlike some other Android phone makers, which are adding a notch to their phone just to make them more similar to the iPhone, Essential is already trying to get rid of it completely.
The idea is simple. Since the LCD screen could be made out of elements that are mostly transparent, one could place the camera below a “substantially transparent” part of the screen and have the phone disable that part of the screen when a photo is being taken.
Another approach is to make the screen semi-transparent altogether, while yet another is for the camera to record the light colored by the LCD’s color filter layer (which could later presumably be fixed with software).
We’ve seen several different approaches to the selfie camera “problem” — Xiaomi has put it on the bottom of its Mi Mix 2 phone, and Vivo placed it in a retractable element on top of its Apex phone concept (Essential actually holds a patent for such a system as well). But Essential’s new solution, if viable, is definitely the most elegant so far.
As always, a patent does not mean a feature is coming soon — or ever. But it’s cool to see one of the pioneers of the notch-phone is still trying to innovate.