Xiaomi has patented two new foldable smartphone designs in China. These two designs have been patented with CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration), and both of them are quite interesting.
These two Xiaomi foldable smartphone designs are… well, different
These two foldable smartphone designs that Xiaomi patented are actually somewhat different than everything else we've seen thus far. That actually goes for both devices that have been announced, and those that have not.
The first design shows a phone that reminds us of the Huawei Mate X, just a bit. This device folds horizontally, and it folds outwards. When folded, its cameras are placed on the back, and are vertically-aligned.
Those cameras actually have a whole vertical strip on the left, as you can see. That part of the device is separated from the display, and is the thickest bezel on the phone.
When the device is unfolded, those two cameras flip to the front, and sit next to the display. So, when the phone is folded, there is no bezel on the left at all. When it's unfolded, you get that bezel that contains the cameras.
The second design patent actually shows off a vertically-folding smartphone. This device is considerably different than anything else we've seen as it folds outwards.
Pretty much every vertically-folding handset that we've seen has a display on the inside. Well, not this one, not at all. This phone not only has its display on the outside, but it's also quite a bold design.
When folded, you get bezels on three sides, bottom, left, and right. Those bezels are extremely thin, while the top bezel is non-existent. On the back, you'll notice that the vast majority of the phone is also covered by the display, though the bezel on the bottom is thicker.
Inside of that display on the back sits the camera module. That camera module is quite large, and when unfolded, using this phone will be quite odd. We cannot imagine using that display with such a huge camera module on it.
The first design is far more likely to become a reality
The first design is far more likely to become a reality. The second design may be different, and all that, but that camera module will ruin the experience when the phone is unfolded. Well, at least it looks that way.
Xiaomi had already demoed its foldable smartphone. It was an outwards-folding device, though we haven't heard from Xiaomi in quite some time regarding that.
The company was expected to announce its first foldable smartphone by the end of 2019, as per rumors. That did not happen, and we're waiting for some more information from Xiaomi. The company may talk about its foldable smartphone at MWC 2020, we'll see.