Whatever you think of the iPhone 12, thereâ€™s little doubt that it will influence the design of other phones in the near future. You just have to look at the flurry of notched phones that arrived after the iPhone X as an example. Even though some companies got there first, Apple was the trendsetter. With that in mind, itâ€™s just a question of when an Android phone maker copies the iPhone 4/5 throwback-style, flat design adopted by the latest Apple flagships.
But which Android brands would benefit most from taking inspiration from Cupertinoâ€™s latest look? While we certainly wouldnâ€™t expect companies to simply follow Appleâ€™s lead when Android thrives on variety, there are a few vendors that could stand to borrow a page from the iPhone 12â€™s book. It could not only rejuvenate some major names but address flaws that hold their handsets back.
Huawei and Honor â€˜Proâ€™ phones
Huaweiâ€™s phone business may be struggling under the weight of the ongoing US trade ban, but the newly independent Honor brand is on the rise. Despite their varying fortunes, both Android vendors could stand to learn a thing or two from Appleâ€™s flat design aesthetic.
The two have enthusiastically supported curved screens on their higher-end models, and seemingly to a fault. Witness the sharply curved â€œwaterfallâ€� screens of the Mate 40 Pro and Honor 30 Pro Plus as examples. They are slippery and even fragile devices precisely because of their curves, and not just due to their displays. An iPhone-like flat design might not be as eye-catching, but it could reel in global Android fans whoâ€™ve been wary of premium Huawei and Honor models in recent years.
Recent higher-end Xiaomi phones like the Mi 10 Pro and the (sadly) China-exclusive Mi 10 Ultra offer tremendous value for the money. However, the emphasis on curvy glass isnâ€™t quite so thrilling. Itâ€™s not just that the curves make it harder to hold â€” itâ€™s that youâ€™ve likely seen those basic design cues on many phones before, even if Xiaomi adds a few flourishes of its own. The company is leaning heavily on its name and spec sheet to win you over.
The Mi 11 is more distinct with its recognizable camera bump and vivid color options, but itâ€™s still another curved slab. A flat design could help Xiaomi stand out in a crowded sea of Android manufacturers while making its phones that much easier to hold.
Nokia 9 PureView successor
Itâ€™s not just curved-screen Android phones that could stand to adopt an iPhone-inspired flat body. If and when thereâ€™s a Nokia 9 PureView sequel, it should be on the shortlist.
To put it bluntly, HMD Globalâ€™s camera-focused phone was unwieldy. The screen might have been flat, but the combination of a curved back with a glossy glass finish and a large body made it a challenge to hold. And thatâ€™s a serious problem for a phone that was all about photography. Itâ€™s hard to get a stable shot when youâ€™re worried about dropping your device on the sidewalk. A flat look would help nail those photos.
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For that matter, it might just reinvigorate Nokiaâ€™s design language. Although itâ€™s not too difficult to recognize modern Nokias on the street, theyâ€™re not nearly as iconic as pre-HMD phones like the N95 or Lumia 1020. A flat appearance wouldnâ€™t turn back time, but it could bring back that signature Nokia quirkiness that seemingly disappeared years ago.
We also shouldnâ€™t forget that the Nokia 9 PureView was very poorly received at launch nearly two years ago. If HMD Global wants to return to the flagship space, a fresh, flat look might erase some of those bad memories.
LG Velvet 2
The LG Velvet is a stylish phone. Itâ€™s arguably a much-needed reinvention for a company struggling to distance its designs from those of heavyweights like Samsung. Does that mean LG should leave the Velvet alone? We donâ€™t think so.
As weâ€™ve said before, the Velvet is a fashion-forward phone dictated by trends. A Velvet 2 could easily keep up that trendiness by ditching the swooping curves of its predecessor for a flat (but still stylish) chassis. It wouldnâ€™t have to shadow the iPhone all that closely â€” just borrow enough of those cues to put it at the forefront of Android design circa 2021.
Tell us: Whatâ€™s your suggestion?
While we have a few ideas for Android phones that ought to lift the iPhone 12â€™s flat design traits, we canâ€™t possibly cover them all. Thereâ€™s bound to be a phone you wish would get a makeover, whether itâ€™s a follow-up to the hardware in your pocket or a dream device youâ€™ve been eyeing for some time. Let us know your suggestions in the comments!