ZTE's unique tri-fold phone spotted in new patent

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ZTE's unique tri-fold phone spotted in new patent
Foldable phones are becoming increasingly common, but most of them have basically the same form factor, folding in half either vertically or horizontally. ZTE looks to be bucking the trend with its daring trifold design, which recently appeared in an official patent filing.

As reported by PriceBaba, the patent was filed with the CNIPA, China’s national patent office, and shows a device that folds outwards in thirds to form a tablet. It appears that when unfolded, one side of the device will form a thicker ‘handle’, not unlike Huawei’s Mate X foldable phone or the Kindle Oasis e-reader.

We’ve seen ZTE's rival TCL show off a similar design as early as October of last year, which was a dummy model without a working display. However, ZTE's patent shows an outward-folding device more like Xiaomi’s rumoured Mi Fold. The patent also doesn’t show any specs, ports, buttons, or cameras, so ZTE may not be gearing up to produce a device like this anytime soon. However, given that it apparently feels that the design has come along far enough to be worth patenting, the possibility remains for the future.

Some questions surrounding practicality still exist, especially with that remote control form factor when folded, but regardless, it’s definitely an interesting and unique idea that might be worth keeping your eye on.

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