A number of device manufactures showed off their new products for 2018 at Mobile World Congress. Such as the Asus ZenFone 5, LG G7 (leaked), UleFone T2 Pro, and as well as a few other low end international Android devices. All of these devices were sporting an 'iPhone X-esque' top notch. As a result many people came out of MWC saying, "Wow! Apple has done it again. They've started an awful trend. The top notch."
However, Apple was actually not the first one to implement this design. The Essential phone was the first to implement a "notch" in their Android phone that released in August of 2017 before the official announcement of the iPhone X. So, why are manufactures choosing to make this design decision?
Manufactures are adding on this notch that obstructs a portion of the upper display to cut down on the overall 'screen to body' percentage while still keeping the necessary components where they have always been.
Apple argued that they needed to have the notch to store its array of IR sensors, front facing camera and speaker grill. Which is true. But, the Asus Zenfone 5 does not have the IR sensors that the iPhone X does. So there is no reason they could not make the same design as the Essential phone. Integrating the speaker grill into the very top bezel or moving to screen vibration for the earpiece. Or making a design change to move the camera to the lower bezel like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2. However, this is not the best solution for many reasons.
Along with the trends that come out of MWC, we also get to see concepts from companies that don't plan to fully launch a product. One of the coolest concept phones that was shown off was the Vivo Apex. This phone completely removes the top notch of the device and creates an almost full screen phone. They had a unique solution tot he problem of "where does everything go" if you try to make a truly full screen phone.
There has to be somewhere for the front facing camera to go, the earpiece, and other sensors. They showed off a solution that involves a camera that pops out of the top of the display and used screen vibration for the earpiece. I don't think this is a solution that will be implemented but it is certainly a cool step in the right direction. Away from the top notch.
Take a look!