Xiaomi has revealed the first look of its folding smartphone in a teaser video released today. Lin Bin, Xiaomi’s co-founder and president posted the video on China’s social media platform.
In the video, the phone can be seen folding out to a tablet then back each side folding begin to create a more typical smartphone shape. Bin says the device in the video is an engineering model and doesn’t reveal any more details.
He does say that the company has been able to overcome “a series of technical problems such as flexible folding screen technology, four-wheel drive folding shaft technology, flexible cover technology, and MIUI adaptation.”
From the first look, it appears as though the device is running an adapted version of Xiaomi's MIUI software. A video that plays on the tablet converts between screen size as the device is folded.
It looks 2019 will be the year of folding screens.
Big players all set to release folding devices this year
Big players Samsung and Huawei are both set to release devices with a folding screen and Chinese company Royole released their initial folding screen product at CES 2019.
Xiaomi’s version had already been leaked ahead of today’s Weibo video but there are no more details when a consumer version of the drive will hit shelves. The Mobile World Congress kicks off in a month and its likely that folding screen will dominate.
Devices with folding screens have kicked around at developers conference as prototypes for years now, but this is the first time we are seeing really high-quality examples that could actually translate to a useful product.
While there have been some attempts at making smartphones bigger, these generally just create a phone so big it's difficult to carry around or comfortable to hold.
With the folding screen device, you can literally unfold google maps to get a better understanding of the area or share videos and other content with other quickly and crisply.
Royole releases folding phone at CES 2019
One of the challenges of doling devices is ensuring there is no lag when the device is opened or closed. The first company to release a functioning device is Royole, who unveiled their foldable phone, the FlexPai phone at CES 2019.
The phone is available for purchase packing a Snapdragon 855 chipset with either 6 or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage.
Running on Android 9.0 Pie, the device also includes a 16MP+20MP dual camera. And, of course, the phone can unfold itself.
The phone takes advantage of Royole’s 2nd generation Cicada Wing flexible displays, bending freely from 0 to 180 degrees. The screen cannot be cracked the way other smartphone screens can, and is highly scratch resistant.
As the year progresses we’ll keep you posted on al the latest folding device releases.