Android creator Andy Rubin unveiled the first smartphone from his new company called Essential on Tuesday.
The first Essential-made smartphone, the PH-1 (as in PH-ONE, get it?), runs on a stock version of Android and has some pretty solid features, like fast processors, a giant screen, and a premium titanium-ceramic build. But there’s one glaring issue that I just can’t stop staring at, and I suspect it might be a dealbreaker for some folks.
Don’t see it? It’s right here:
That front-facing camera hole. It’s hideous.
Basically, what Essential has done here is cut out a hole for a selfie camera in its full-screen display, which not only looks bad, but could also potentially affect how you use your phone.
On almost every smartphone — including Android phones, and this is an Android phone — a lot of information tends to be displayed at the top. Beyond the time and battery life, you can see your notifications and settings at the top of the screen.
So what happens if you pull down your notifications on Essential’s PH-1? Or you want to view your settings? Will the camera hole obstruct some of the text and images on the screen? Or does Essential have software that makes words curve around that strange black hole?
Better yet, what if you want to watch a movie on your phone, in landscape mode? Will that camera hole cut out part of the picture?
I truly believe that smartphones are the most valuable devices we own, so it makes sense to invest in the right one. They’re powerful and personal. We take them out of our pockets countless times a day for all sorts of uses, from productivity to entertainment. But you also want your smartphone to look good — you’re going to be looking at it all the time — and to me, the selfie camera hole really hurts the phone’s attractiveness.
But what makes matters worse is that the hole could also be disruptive, even if you’re just checking the time or watching your favourite show. And that, to me, could be a dealbreaker for many prospective customers.