Xiaomi has patented two new vastly different foldable smartphone concepts in China. These two patents feature designs that are familiar to what we’ve seen from other companies before, but they’re also slightly different in their own way. The first device folds horizontally making a wider display, while the second folds vertically for a longer display.
The first design shows a phone that reminds us of the Huawei Mate X, and it’s the more practical of the two patented devices. The display folds over to the back, making the device feel like a normal sized smartphone. When folded out however, the device will be similar in size to your standard 8-inch+ tablet. The camera strip on the patent is much more subtle when compared to the Mate X’s camera strip.
The second patented device on the other hand is VASTLY more bizarre than the previous device. Instead of forming a wider display, this device features a much longer display in a clamshell form. The main thing however is that the display is always on the outside of the device, which means that folding the phone is only for making the device shorter. The camera bump also interestingly seems to sit on the display.
While it seems to have been inspired by things like the Motorola Razr, the fact that the display is always on the outside of the device is just such a weird decision to us. This leaves it exposed to the elements at all times for what seems to be no practical reason. We’d much prefer to see a standard clamshell design like the upcoming Galaxy Fold 2.
While it’s fully possible neither one of these devices will ever fully materialize, it’s certainly interesting to discuss and imagine what they’d be like if they were real. This second device especially seems to be rather pointless, so it’d be nice to see what sort of counter arguments and features we could see in favor of it.