After the iPhone X, every phone will soon be bezel-less. What’s next?

The past year has seen wonderful advances in smartphone design – and more specifically, killing the bezel. The current wave began when Xiaomi announced the Mi Mix late last year, after which LG, Samsung, and Essential all took their own approach to maximizing screen real estate in 2017.

Now there’s the iPhone X, and it’s the final nail in the coffin. Say what you will about Apple, but there’s no denying that the company has the most influence to define smartphone trends, even if it’s rarely the first to implement a feature. I’ve never bought an iPhone and I can admit to that.

So what do designers do next?

Though the original iPhone introduced the idea of a large (by 2007 standards) touchscreen, the bezel-less display truly became the holy grail of smartphones when Google and Samsung introduced the Galaxy Nexus in 2011.

It was the first phone to feature virtual navigation buttons, which would in theory allow device makers to one day create a device with no bezel. The dream is ultimate efficiency – a phone with no wasted space.

Since then, phones with little-to-no bezels pop up every so often, though usually as concepts at trade shows. Sharp beat most of today’s companies to the punch with its Aquos phone in 2014 (too bad it was pretty mediocre). The same company showed off a concept phone in 2016 with even smaller bezels.

Though some have been initially hesitant to reduce bezels, with the iPhone entering the fray, you can expect every flagship to follow within the next year or two- and even some budget phones too. I mean, it’s hard not to look at something like the HTC U11, Moto Z2, or iPhone 8 next to the LG V30 without feeling like their designs are outdated, even if they are great devices in every other respect.

Manufacturers will race to shave off another millimeter here or there, and eventually, someone will find a way to make the front camera and speaker array virtually undetectable, essentially turning our phones into one massive touchscreen. But as much as I can’t wait for this imminent bezel-free future, I’m even more excited for what comes after we’ve reached the limit.