Most Android phones don’t even have an Oreo beta yet, but that’s not stopping Google from releasing the preview to their next big update. Android P is here for developers to test, and with it, one of the more controversial additions in the Android world today — the notch.
Whether the Pixel 3 sees a notch or not is still unknown, but more and more Android phones are jumping on Apple’s bandwagon. As much as Android fans may dislike it, the notch is coming, so it only makes sense for Google to add notch support to its beta. If you’ve installed the Android P developer preview on your Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, or Pixel 2 XL, you can check out what it’s like to have a notch outside of an iPhone.
To check out the notch preview for yourself, open Settings, then tap “System.” Tap “Advanced” to reveal additional selections, then tap “Developer options.” Scroll down to Drawing, then tap “Simulate a display with a cutout” to view your options.
There are three selections for notches, or “cutouts” as Google calls them — “Narrow display cutout,” “Tall display cutout,” and “Wide display cutout.” You can see the difference in each in the photos below.
When cutouts are enabled, most apps behave the same, just with that notch in the center of the display. However, the status bar gets taller to accommodate the various notch styles, so when viewing media like photos or videos, Android shrinks the content to fit the screen outside of the notch. You don’t currently have the option to view media full screen as you do on the iPhone X, so it’ll be interesting to see how Google ends up handling this issue.
Another issue here is how notification icons are dealt with. First, Android P has moved the clock to the left side of the notification bar now, so that’s already encroaching on your notification icons — notch or not. But with the notch taking up the center portion of the status bar, you can now only have a few notification icons before they “spill over” with an ellipses icon. This is a stark contrast to the 15+ icons you could display at a time without a notch.
Of course, this is just the first developer preview of Android P, so things aren’t completely finalized yet. We’d like to see Google add support for a second row of notification icons and perhaps a system-wide pinch-to-zoom gesture for full-screen media. We’ll keep digging in, though, so check back for more Android P coverage!