A leaked prototype showcases Xiaomi’s outward foldable phone design

A leaked prototype showcases Xiaomi’s outward foldable phone design
A few years back, in 2019, Xiaomi filed a patent application with the CNIPA for an outward-foldable phone. That would essentially mean that the display of the smartphone wraps around the back of the unit and can unfold to increase its screen size.

While that smartphone never saw the light of day, three years later, developer Kuba Wojciechowski released some actual photos of a prototype of the device. While still in very rough shape, it’s an intriguing piece of tech history.

And from what we can see, the concept phone has been realized in a rough, but faithful prototype. We can make out four cameras, an LED flash, and then beneath them, a button, which would allow the phone to unfold upon being pressed.

There are several snapshots of the insides as well, from which we can see a 3,500 mAh battery, and thanks to the report from GSMArena, we know that it was equipped Snapdragon’s 855 chip and an X50 modem, which had 5G support.

The look is very reminiscent of Huawei’s Mate Xs from 2020, which got a sequel this April. Phones like these still feature a strip – a small piece of real estate reserved for cameras and buttons, which also works as a bit of extra grip for when the phone is unfolded.

Why did Xiaomi’s outward-folding phone not get released?

We might never find out why this prototype didn’t make it to production, but hearsay suggests that it’s related to durability concerns. After all, foldable screens are infamous for being easily scratched and damaged.

When folded, that same screen would cover not only the front but the back of the phone too, which meant that users had to be extremely careful when putting it down on any surface, or even in their pockets.

Xiaomi moved on to a more expected inward foldable design, like the Mix Fold 2 from earlier this year. The phone really shows what the brand is capable of, as it makes major innovations in terms of how light and thin a foldable can really be.

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