Xiaomi’s alleged foldable smartphone surfaced at the end of last year in a short video, and the company’s co-founder, Lin Bin, has just not only confirmed the existence of that device, but has shown the phone in a one-minute video on Weibo (Chinese social network).
In his post, Lin Bin says that the company has managed to figure out some “technical problems” that it faced in the road to developing a foldable smartphone, including its folding mechanism, flexible display implementation, and adapting its MIUI Android overlay for such a device. Now, unlike the Royole FlexPai, world’s first foldable smartphone, this will be a dual-fold foldable smartphone, and it could become the world’s first dual-fold handset, mentions Lin Bin.
The company’s co-founder did mention that the device shown in the provided video is a prototype, which suggests that the final product may look different, especially considering this phone does not seem to have cameras, at all, which is not all that surprising for a prototype device. Cameras are not visible on its back when it’s unfolded, nor do we see one on the front side of the device.
If you take a look at the provided video, you will see that this folds backwards, and that it becomes quite a compact phone when folded, though it seems to have a rather odd display aspect ratio, as it seems to be wider than your regular smartphones. The device does sport really thin bezels, which is quite interesting, though as already mentioned, it does not have cameras, and quite probably some additional sensors, so the final product will definitely look different but the mechanism will remain the same.
In his Weibo post, Lin Bin also says that the device is being shown off as a concept for an upcoming smartphone, and he has also invited consumers to share their thoughts and ideas in the comments on Weibo, while he also said that the company wants to name this prototype smartphone, so he’s asking for help in that area as well. Lin Bin suggested two names, “Xiaomi Dual Flex” and “Xiaomi MIX Flex”, so it will be interesting to see what name will Xiaomi opt for, though it will probably be one of the two.
A number of smartphone manufacturers are currently working on foldable smartphones, including Samsung, HTC, LG, OPPO, Huawei, and Motorola. Many others are probably on that very same path, but most info surfaced regarding the aforementioned companies, including Xiaomi, of course.
Samsung had already shown off its foldable smartphone prototype during its developer's conference at the end of last year, while Huawei announced that its foldable smartphone is coming soon, same goes for OPPO. Motorola / Lenovo is planning to revive the Motorola Razr brand by releasing a foldable smartphone with a Razr name attached to it, and a patent actually surfaced quite recently, revealing what the device will probably look like.
LG is a bit of a mystery in this department, but the company will probably reveal its foldable smartphone in H1 as well, while HTC’s offering probably won’t arrive until second half of the year, as the company is rumored to be working on such a phone, but it is also rumored to be paying high attention to detail, and wants to make it worthy of releasing.
UPDATE: Wang Xiang, Xiaomi's Senior Vice President, reshared Lin Bin's video on Twitter, as evidenced below.
Excited to share this video of a special Xiaomi smartphone from our President and Co-founder Bin Lin. It is the world’s first ever double folding phone — that’s pretty cool, isn’t it? #xiaomi #foldingphone #technology pic.twitter.com/iBj0n3vIbW
— Wang Xiang (@XiangW_) January 23, 2019