Got yourself a new Samsung Galaxy S8? Have you noticed the new virtual on-screen home button seems to move?
Good news: You’re not losing your mind, and you’re definitely not seeing things.
The folks at GalaxyClub have confirmed the Galaxy S8’s virtual home button shifts ever so slightly — something most people probably won’t ever notice. But why would it need to do that? To prevent screen burn-in, apparently.
While most people haven’t had to worry about screen burn-in (the “ghost-like” image leftover from displaying an image for too long) on their device screens for years — thanks to the advancements of LCD displays — OLED displays like the Galaxy S8’s are still susceptible to it.
In the old days of CRT computer monitors, which were highly prone to screen burn-in, we used screensavers as a way to prevent image burn-in. But phones don’t have screensavers.
When the Galaxy S8’s Always-on Display (AOD) is turned on the lock screen to show things like the time or calendar, they move around the screen to prevent burn-in. Because the phone’s home button can’t be bouncing all over the screen and needs to stay basically in the same location (bottom center), Samsung really had no choice but to have the home button shift by a few pixels every so often.
Samsung’s “workaround” raises an interesting question: What will Apple do for the iPhone 8? The next iPhone’s rumored to switch from LCD to OLED for the first time, and the iconic home button below the screen will reportedly be replaced with a virtual one just like the Galaxy S8. Will Apple have to resort to the same “moving home button” as Samsung, or will it have a better solution up its sleeve? We’ll find out soon enough.