Xiaomi announced earlier this month that it would be introducing its first foldable smartphone in 2021 after a prototype was initially showcased in 2019. That design was never released.
The Chinese multinational electronics company updated the patent to include a clamshell device similar to the Motorola Razr and the Galaxy Z Flip. However, Xiaomi’s device will be able to “fold twice”.
Xiaomi’s first foldable phone: Here’s what we know
As reported by Let’s Go Digital, Xiaomi patented a “unique phone with double folding screen”. The team who unearthed the patent explains:
“Xiaomi has filed a design patent for a futuristic-looking phone that can be folded twice in a Z-shape […] Folded, it is a dual-display phone; unfolded it becomes a gigantic tablet”.
As per the one-page Bulletin No. 28/2020, the device – currently referred to as the Xiaomi Z Fold for ease of reference – will feature a gigantic flexible screen in addition to a large front-display.
The Xiaomi foldable phone patent
The patent was filed with the Hague International Design Bulletin (HIDB) back in March 2020. The HIDB is part of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), which approved and published the patent on 18 September 2020.
The documentation contains 16 product sketches showing the foldable phone from all sides. The original document can be viewed here.
Using these sketches, the creative geniuses at Let’s Go Digital designed the product renders contained in this article. All renders used in this article were published with explicit permission from Let’s Go Digital.
Experts predict that we will see “retractable” smartphones first. After all, Samsung unveiled a Galaxy retractable prototype to a VIP audience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2020.
The Xiaomi Z Fold has thin bezels and a “large display on both the front and back”. It turns into a dual-display phone when folded, with the front display on a separate screen, in addition to a large, flexible display on the back.
There appears to be a small punch-hole camera on the front of the device. Strangely, there are no other cameras visible on the folding, most likely due to the rear section of the device folding inwards.
However, one would be able to take both selfies and regular photos with the front-facing camera, as both sides could be used as a view-finder. This would truly be a one-of-a-kind device if it makes it to market.
We’ve seen quite a few “double folding” smartphone patents; however, none have made it to the shelves or our pockets. It’s uncertain if the market would be ready for a device such as this.