Will Xiaomi be the next smartphone maker to bring out a folding phone? A newly discovered patent and images certainly suggest that might be the case.
The images show a slim phone that folds into a square, with camera lenses and a small external screen on the back of the phone.
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On the front, you can see thin bezels and a small notch at the top, containing even more camera lenses.
This patent certainly falls into the line with the way smartphone design is going. The trend is very much towards foldables, as we’ve seen with the launches of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X and, of course, the stunning Motorola Razr 2019.
So, what brought the foldable back? Since phone manufacturers perfected high resolution foldable screens, the appeal of the innovation is that a clamshell form factor can offer a large screen smartphone in a more convenient size.
You can see the appeal if, for instance, you want a phone with a big screen that’s great for streaming, but don’t want it to be so huge that it doesn’t fit in your pocket.
The patent was initially submitted to the China National Intellectual Property Administration in August 2018, and was spotted by Tiger Mobiles.
These images suggest the phone could closely resemble Xiaomi’s current smartphones when unfolded, where the Fold and Razr each have their own distinguishing design features. In the case of the Razr, this is very much a nostalgia trip, for fans of the noughties flip-phone original.
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If you’re a fan of foldables, don’t get excited just yet. A patent is no guarantee of an actual product coming to market. At this point, Xiaomi may only be considering fielding a foldable phone, or experimenting with design and technology possibilities.