Xiaomi may be working on a clamshell foldable smartphone like the Galaxy Z Flip
The introduction of foldable smartphones to the market was perhaps the most exciting thing to come out of last year. This year, we expect to see more smartphone makers join the fray as the display technology matures and the cost to produce foldable displays goes down. Right now, there are two different types of foldable smartphones: the Galaxy Fold-style devices that fold horizontally and the Galaxy Z Flip-style devices that fold vertically like the old clamshell phone design. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola’s Razr are the only two clamshell foldable smartphones on the market right now, but it seems that Xiaomi is preparing to launch its own clamshell foldable smartphone later this year.
The Galaxy Z Flip has a bendable “Ultra Thin Glass” OLED display underneath a layer of protective plastic. The Motorola Razr, meanwhile, simply has a bendable plastic OLED display. The Galaxy Z Flip’s display is manufactured by Samsung Display while the Motorola Razr’s display is dual sourced from Chinese display makers BOE and CSOT. According to a report from ZDNet Korea citing electronics component industry insiders, Xiaomi has requested that Samsung Display supply them with a clamshell-type flexible OLED display similar to the one found in the Galaxy Z Flip. The report goes on to say that Xiaomi may also source clamshell foldable OLED displays from LG Display, who reportedly previously supplied foldable displays to Huawei. The report quotes an unnamed insider in the display industry who says that the foldable panels currently produced by BOE and CSOT are of a lower quality than those produced by Samsung Display, which is why Xiaomi went with Samsung Display.
Mass production of Xiaomi’s clamshell foldable is expected to begin in the second half of 2020. We don’t know the specifications, pricing, or availability of Xiaomi’s clamshell foldable smartphone, but we can expect that it’ll pack flagship-level hardware and a premium price tag. We also don’t know what the phone will actually look like, but recent patent filings unearthed by LetsGoDigital and TigerMobiles may give us a hint. Based on these patents, smartphone concept designer Waqar Khan, in collaboration with tech blog WindowsUnited, created a render of what Xiaomi’s clamshell foldable smartphone may look like, as shown in the featured image above.
Featured image credits: WindowsUnited.de/@WaqarKhanHD