Xiaomi is apparently working on multiple foldable smartphone designs. These premium Android mobile phones with foldable design could launch as early as this year.
Samsung and Motorola may have launched their foldable smartphones in 2020, and Apple is rumored to be furiously working on designing and testing a premium foldable iPhone. However, Xiaomi clearly wants to one-up all.
The Chinese tech giant is reportedly planning at least three foldable smartphones. Xiaomi could launch these foldable devices in 2021. Incidentally, each smartphone folds differently.
So the next foldable to hit the market will likely be from Xiaomi who is expected to have 3 foldables in the market in 2021. They will actually have all 3 types. The first will be outfolding, the second will be in-folding and the third will be clamshell.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) December 24, 2020
Xiaomi to lead the foldable Android smartphone race in 2021?
Multiple design patterns have leaked online. Xiaomi has filed at least seven patents and all of them depict a foldable smartphone.
The Chinese patent office has awarded Xiaomi four patents on New Year’s Day. Each patent and design are radically different from the other.
Xiaomi has envisioned at least seven different ways in which a smartphone can fold. Although not all designs will eventually translate into a consumer smartphone, Xiaomi could reportedly launch at least three this year.
From the seven different folding phone variations, two are clamshell designs like the Moto Razr and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
Xiaomi foldable smartphones with foldable design:
The patent concerns three clamshell devices, and four telephones with an inwardly folding screen that unfold into a tablet. According to experts, Xiaomi could offer a phone such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola RAZR 5G.
Then there is an in-folding smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2. The third variant gets an out-folding design similar to the Huawei Mate Xs.
The Xiaomi clamshell phone with quad-camera is the first large foldable smartphone from the company. It essentially has a larger smartphone-sized screen that folds inward.
There’s a small, secondary, rectangular display that remains exposed. This second screen should display notifications and incoming calls and messages.
Xiaomi has placed the power button and volume rockers on the side. The charging port, quite possibly a USB Type-C is present in the middle.
The same foldable smartphone design has two more variants. The first has one large camera sensor with a flash sitting next to it. The other model has 4 cameras visible. Xiaomi has placed them vertically, and an extra sensor, as well as a flash, accompanies the camera array.
The other notable design patent for the Xiaomi clamshell smartphone reveals a larger secondary display. The design resembles Motorola Razr. But instead of at the bottom, the signature chin is at the top of the folded device.
Xiaomi has placed the front camera on the thick top side. This way, the camera will be usable both in the folded and open positions. The secondary display in this design is larger, thereby offering more information than just notifications.
Xiaomi foldable smartphone also transforms into a tablet:
The third design essentially transforms a smartphone into a tablet. However, here too there are three variants.
The first model has an inwardly folding screen. The device has a vertical folding line similar to a book.
With this device, the front display extends from the right side to the main screen. Xiaomi has used a large wrap-around display with this variant. The screen not only covers the front of the smartphone but also the right side as well as the entire main screen. Needless to add, this design choice will add a lot of costs.
The second variant has a similar design, but the camera array hinted at is radically different. The third model has a much smaller outer secondary display. But it runs along the vertical edge.
Xiaomi has long been offering premium devices. The Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha with its Surround Display technology sported a retail price of around $2500 when it launched. Hence, these premium devices with foldable screens should have an equally astronomical retail price too.