A new patent surfaced recently at EUIPO, possibly showing Xiaomi's first foldable smartphone. We've already talked about the patent itself a couple of days ago, and sketches that Xiaomi provided in it.
Having said that, Letsgodigital has created some proper renders of the device based on those sketches. The images that the site provided give us a far better look at the device than those sketches did. This could actually be the design of Xiaomi's very first foldable smartphone.
Will Xiaomi's first foldable smartphone look like this?
The phone that you can see in the provided renders is actually quite similar to the one Xiaomi shown off months ago. The company showed its foldable smartphone prototype several times, and even though that phone's design wasn't finished, we pretty much knew what to expect.
The company showed off a double-fold phone, which folds in two places, just like the device that the company patented. The phone folds backwards, and when folded, parts of its main display are moved to the back. You can still use the central part of the display on the front, in a smaller form factor.
The device includes three cameras on the back, and those cameras are vertically-aligned. This patent still does not show a front-facing camera, which is quite interesting. Xiaomi may be planning to include under-display camera in this phone, the one they've been testing. We're only guessing though, as the company may be planning not to include one at all.
The phone appears to be quite thick, thicker than it initially appeared. The source claims that the thickness is presented as realistically as possible, based on the provided sketches.
Camera is off limits when the phone is folded
One downside of this phone, for those of you who like to take pictures with your smartphone, is the fact that you have to unfold it in order to take pictures. The phone's cameras get covered by parts of the device when the phone is folded.
Bezels on the device are not thick at all, and when the device is folded, sides of the phone are basically all display. Do note that parts of this phone's display will shut down when the phone is folded, of course, so that you can use it properly. A Type-C USB port is placed on the bottom of the phone, while a 3.5mm headphone jack is not included here.
This smartphone may not ship with physical keys at all, as none are visible in the company's sketches, which is pictured in these renders. A fingerprint scanner is also not visible here, but that's probably because it will be placed behind the display, like on many other phones these days.
It is still unclear when is Xiaomi planning to announce this smartphone. Both Samsung and Huawei postponed launches of their first foldable handsets, though both are expected to arrive in a month or two. Xiaomi may wait until the end of the year to announce its offering, or maybe even next year, who knows. One thing is for sure, Xiaomi's first foldable smartphone will be more affordable than both the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and the Huawei Mate X. Still, don't expect this phone to be extremely affordable or anything of the sort.