Xiaomi shows how its folding smartphone will look, and you’re going to love it

xiaomi folding smartphone news phone prototype

Make no mistake, in 2019 we’re going to see more than a few folding smartphones, and one is possibly going to come from Chinese maker Xiaomi. The company’s president and co-founder Bin Lin has shared a video online showing a prototype of its folding smartphone, but it’s not the same design we’ve seen from Samsung and Royale. Xiaomi says it’s the world’s first double folding smartphone, and it’s really impressive.

What does double folding mean? You can see in the video, which starts off with co-founder Lin using a device with a tablet-sized screen before he turns it on its side and folds in either side. At the same time, the center of the display resizes to more normal smartphone size. In a brief spin round at the end, you can see the two side flaps neatly folded at the back. Previously, the folding smartphones we’ve seen fold in half, like a reverse book, and sometimes have two screens. The Xiaomi has a single screen.

In a message posted on the Weibo social network, where the video was first shown, Lin wrote how Xiaomi has overcome some of the technical problems associated with folding smartphones, including developing a new type of hinge technology and making sure the software works correctly. Despite this, the version of MIUI on the prototype device still shows teething problems when the screen alters shape and size. While we’d imagine this will be cured before it’s released, it’s evidence of the challenge manufacturers have when it come to adapting software for this type of screen.

Will it ever be released? Xiaomi is asking for feedback, and says that if it’s positive, it will consider putting the device into mass production. Xiaomi is also asking for help on the name, mentioning the Xiaomi Dual Flex or Mix Flex for now, but adds it’s open to suggestion for alternatives. On Twitter, Xiaomi’s global spokesperson Donovan Sung says the phone is, “Double the folding, double the fun,” and Xiaomi’s senior vice president Wang Xiang tweeted that the phone is a world first, and “pretty cool.”

It’s impossible to disagree. Software stutters aside, it’s an impressive looking device, mostly because the folded phone does not look as bulky as others. This is essential if we’re going to carry a folding smartphone around in a pocket. The model for the ideal folding smartphones is still being formed, so it’s great to see alternative styles are being experimented with by manufacturers. Also, Xiaomi has been a pioneer with cutting-edge tech in the past — the Mi Mix and its bezel-less screen — so expectations are high here.

There’s no indication when, or if, the Xiaomi folding smartphone will be released.


Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.

Galaxy S10? Foldable phone? What to expect from Samsung’s Unpacked on Feb. 20

Samsung's skipping Mobile World Congress 2019 to launch its next big smartphone a week earlier in San Francisco. We're fully expecting the Galaxy S10 to show up, but what else will be there? Here's what to expect.
Emerging Tech

This oddball Japanese robot will fold your clothes and do your laundry

Hate doing your own laundry? A Japanese robotics startup, Mira Robotics, created a telepresence robot which lets you hire another person to remotely fold your clothes for you through the machine.

Samsung teases it will reveal its foldable phone during the Galaxy S10 event

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.