Xiaomi appears to have been awarded a patent for a device featuring a flexible/foldable screen wrapping around the edges, with sources claiming that the product will be part of the company’s MIX lineup. Several images showing the designs have emerged from the State Intellectual Property Office of China earlier this week, and the timing suggests that it wouldn’t be out of the question for Xiaomi to attend MWC 2017 in Barcelona at the end of February and demonstrate some of its prototypes on the show floor.
The patent applications at hand showcase what appears to be one or two smartphones carrying a screen which wraps around the edges completely. Interestingly enough, it seems that at least as far as one design is concerned, there is a gap in the display on the right-hand side of the device, suggesting that the screen could fold out to reveal a larger panel underneath. However, another image shows a slightly different design flaunting a gap on both edges of the screen, so it’s safe to say that Xiaomi is still experimenting with different concepts. Whatever the case may be, Xiaomi is beginning to have a bigger presence in the Western hemisphere and hopefully, the company will demonstrate some of its secret projects at MWC 2017 in Barcelona.
Over the past several years, smartphones have undeniably become increasingly powerful in spite of their form factor not changing drastically. Most smartphones today share the same “chocolate bar” form factor accommodating a full touchscreen on the front side, but judging by numerous patent applications and demonstrations at consumer electronics shows over the past several years, smartphone manufacturers have been looking for ways to create smart devices bearing flexible screens, as well as full-fledged foldable smartphones and tablets. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics seem to be two of the earlier adopters and promoters of flexible/foldable screen technology, but if the idea of a flexible smart device becomes popular then we can expect more device manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon. As far as Xiaomi is concerned, it appears that the company may want to become one of the early adopters of a new smartphone form factor based on flexible or foldable displays, or at least it’s safe to say that the company intends to secure some of its technologies for use at a later date.