Chinese consumer electronics maker OPPO successfully patented a concept of a foldable smartphone that's somewhat reminiscent of the one utilized by the ZTE Axon M with one notable exception – it only uses a single screen. Whereas the back of the handset still features a hinge, its front is covered by only one display panel that's capable of bending outward in half like a book. The top and bottom bezels of the device depicted in the sketches seen in the gallery below are regular-sized, with its screen-to-body ratio apparently hovering around the 80 percent mark.
The original equipment manufacturer has been experimenting with the idea of foldable smartphones for numerous years now, having already unveiled a crude prototype of such a device in mid-2016. None of its related research and development yet led to a commercial product, with most industry watchers still being skeptical about the viability of bendable handsets in the near term. While the technological challenges associated with such device concepts can already be surpassed to a large extent, all OEMs are still understood to be struggling with manufacturing yield rates. Product durability is another major concern for the industry, according to multiple reports. Samsung is widely believed to be the closest to commercializing a foldable smartphone after more than half a decade of R&D and numerous prototypes that were reportedly scrapped, prompting its development efforts to be restarted from scratch. The rumored Galaxy X is expected to be launched at some point next year, with the firm supposedly planning to position it as its third flagship series, advertising it as an unconventional alternative to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lineups.
OPPO has been relatively quiet on the foldable smartphone front in recent times and gave no official indications regarding the status of its related projects, nor did it confirm that it's still actively pursuing such solutions. One of the company's recent patents described a smartphone whose display can be folded at the top, allowing it to sport only a single camera that can be used both as a front-facing and rear-mounted unit. Besides OPPO and Samsung, bendable and fully foldable smartphones have also previously been explored or are still being researched by Huawei, LG, Sony, and Vivo, according to older reports.