Back in 2019, Xiaomi came up with a new design for its foldable smartphone although it never materialized. The patent application with CNIPA was discovered although it is only today when developer Kuba got his hands on real-life images for the prototype which never went commercial.
As you can see in the patent design and the recently leaked real-life shots, the phone looks awfully similar to the Huawei Mate X with an outward folding design. What it means is, the display is outside and it folds into two halves where the display is exposed while the internals is folded. On the contrary, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold which has an inward folding mechanism keeps the display inside thereby protecting the delicate folding display from elements.
The patent application showed a quad camera setup on the extreme left when viewing the phone from the back. The prototype too shows the same vertically stacked camera arrangement with four sensors onboard. There’s a button on board that unlatches the screen or else you will have a loose hinge which wouldn’t have been a good design anyway.
Images shared by Kuba show the prototype in actuality. The phone had a 3,500mAh battery under the hood as you can clearly see in the images tagged here. However, it seems like the durability of the device was likely one of the reasons why it was scrapped or never made through. There’s also mention of the Snapdragon 855 and X50 5G modem implying that the device was truly under testing in 2019 but never went public.
Xiaomi launched the Mi Fold series in early 2019 which follows an inward folding mechanism that we have seen for a few iterations. Today, we have several generations of foldable phones from Huawei and Samsung available in the market and some prototypes such as Oppo Find N in the making.
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