It seems like Google may be working on its foldable smartphone. Patently Mobile has managed to dig out a patent from WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), which was published in the middle of December, and submitted in mid-2018. This patent has been at WIPO for a while now, but it's just now making the rounds.
Based on the patent sketches, this phone is meant to sport a single display, but interestingly enough, the patent listing reveals that there are two ways you can fold this device. A single fold is listed, and it allows for the device to fold down the middle, to essentially make it a clamshell-type phone. The second way of folding is Z-fold, which essentially allows you to bend the phone in two places, after which it ends up looking like the letter Z from the side.
This patent does note that making a foldable smartphone that folds in two places is quite challenging, though that is needless to say. That is pretty much all the info that we were able to gather from the provided patent. This is just a patent at the moment, and just because it is out there, doesn't mean that Google will actually release such a phone, of course, but it is a possibility.
Foldable smartphones are slowly, but surely, becoming a thing. Royole announced its FlexPai smartphone at the end of last year, while both Samsung and Huawei followed in February. OPPO showed off its foldable smartphone concept during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, while Xiaomi also showed its foldable smartphone prototype, though prior to MWC 2019.
The device that Xiaomi's CEO showed in a short video that was posted on Weibo (Chinese social network), also folds in two places. Unlike this fold mechanic showed in Google's patent, though, Xiaomi's device folds on the same side, not opposite sides. It remains to be seen will the company's first official foldable smartphone offer that exact fold mechanic, though.
Motorola is also one of the company's that are working on a foldable smartphone, and its foldable device may be a clamshell-type of a smartphone. Motorola is planning to revive its Razr brand in order to bring a foldable smartphone to life, and the device will probably fold down the middle, while a secondary display will be available on the outside, and it will probably be quite small.
It is still unknown when will Motorola's smartphone arrive, but chances are it will land by the end of this year. Several other smartphone manufacturers are rumored to be working on a foldable smartphone, including Vivo and LG, but we haven't really seen any concrete info regarding devices from those two companies.
Samsung did introduce its very first foldable smartphone already, the Galaxy Fold, but if rumors are to be believed, the company is working on two additional handsets. One of those handsets will utilize a similar mechanic as the Huawei Mate X, and fold outwards, while the other one will be a clamshell-type of a smartphone. Both of those devices are expected to arrive early next year.