It’s official: Google’s Pixel 4 will have a large, square camera bump on the back.
We don’t know its exact dimensions or just how big of a bump it’ll be, but judging from the company’s own render of the device (above), it’ll definitely rise above the phone’s back surface, and it won’t be small.
Camera bumps are not a new thing, and neither is the trend to increase the number of rear cameras on phones (the Pixel 4 will, for the first time, have two). But this look will likely become a big trend soon, because all signs are suggesting that the upcoming iPhone 11 will have a similar, square-shaped camera bump on the back.
Like it or not, once both Apple and Google embrace a certain look for their smartphones, the rest of the industry will follow.
Don’t believe me? Just remember the iPhone notch. When Apple first came up with the notched screen on its iPhone X, the look was ridiculed, then accepted, then copied en masse. Now, most phones have some sort of screen notch, though we’re slowly transcending that phase, with Samsung ushering in the hole-punch camera trend and some upcoming phones getting rid of the camera notch altogether.
Interestingly, Google was one of the slowest companies to adopt the notch, which was first featured on its Google Pixel 3 XL, which came out in 2018. Now, however, the company seems to be embracing the new, square bump trend before most manufacturers (with the notable exception of Huawei, who did it a year before everyone else with its Mate 20 Pro).
The reasoning behind the large camera bump isn’t hard to fathom: Cameras are a huge selling point for phones, and as they get bigger and more advanced, it’s getting harder to squeeze them into the back of the phone without a bump for some extra space.
Don’t be a square
The square look is a bit harder to understand. When Huawei did it, at least it was symmetrical, with the square camera bump located in the middle, with Leica branding directly above and Huawei’s logo on the bottom. The bump was there but it was very gentle, and the three cameras and the flash were, again, symmetrically positioned within the bump.
Although I’m fully aware that tastes differ and that I’m no ultimate arbiter on what looks good, I have to say that the look on the Pixel 4 and the upcoming iPhone (if the leaked renders are accurate) is far less pretty. The devil is in the details, and I’m sure both Apple and Google will niceify the camera bump (one rumor even claimed that the cameras in iPhone 11’s bump will be all but invisible thanks to a new, special coat of paint). But a perfect look, it is not.
Fear of the copycats; Samsung to the rescue
This has little to do with Apple or Google themselves, but when other manufacturers start copying this trend, it’ll be awful. We’ve barely had time to get used to the notch and all its glitches on Android (especially on Chinese phones, which typically have their own, in-house UI), and now we’ll probably be flooded by a ton of phones with unsightly, asymmetrically positioned square camera bumps.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it. With the Pixel 4’s look confirmed, and if the iPhone 11 renders are real (there’s still a small chance that they aren’t), most manufacturers will follow.
One big, important phone maker that might not follow, however, is Samsung. The company never accepted the notch on its premium phones, which made them refreshingly different from most other smartphones. And despite the fact that Samsung has introduced phones with three and even four rear cameras, it never went for the square bump, instead aligning the lenses in a straight (vertical or horizontal) line.
Granted, the Samsung A9’s look wasn’t exactly perfect, either. But there’s hope for the company’s upcoming Note 10, which leaked just days ago. It appears that phone will have a centered hole-punch selfie camera on the front, and three, vertically positioned rear cameras on the back, with only a modest bump (or no bump at all). Hopefully, Samsung will keep doing its own thing, making its phones stand out in a sea of square camera bumps.