Samsung’s first foldable phone should hit store shelves in early April, according to a recent report, at which point the device will become the benchmark for this new smartphone form factor. That’s because Samsung had been teasing foldable phones many years before it actually unveiled one. Samsung took a ton of time to develop the Galaxy F, and a recent marketing push from the company had a clear message that the phone delivers several breakthrough innovations. But it’s hard to get too excited about the Galaxy F, a phone that’s supposed to cost around $2,000, knowing that a Chinese company has already shown off a prototype of a device that looks a lot better than Samsung’s folding phone.
The Xiaomi foldable phone was first leaked in early January. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether Xiaomi really made the phone, or whether the following video even showed an actual device.
Can't speak to the authenticity of this video or device, but it's allegedly made by Xiaomi, I'm told. Hot new phone, or gadget porn deepfake? pic.twitter.com/qwFogWiE2F
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 3, 2019
But the phone still looked terrific, with its triple-screen folding mechanism. Unlike Samsung’s foldable phone, whose main display folds inwards around a single hinge, Xiaomi’s phone has two hinges and fold outwards. The end result of the design is a phone that looks a lot like Apple’s wraparound iPhone concept. In fact, it’s the leak above that prompted me to speculate that Apple’s first foldable iPhone could have a similar design.
Fast forward to this week and we have Xiaomi teasing the same dual-fold phone in a brand new video. That clip was posted initially on Weibo, but it was quickly uploaded to YouTube soon after:
Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin practically confirmed via the teaser that the company is developing its own foldable phones, and that it’s working on a device similar to the one in the previous leak.
Here’s what a rough Google translation of Lin’s post on Weibo says about the phone:
Top Xiaomi double folding mobile phone is coming! After conquering a series of technical problems such as flexible folding screen technology, four-wheel drive folding shaft technology, flexible cover technology, and MIUI adaptation, we made the first folding screen mobile phone, which should be the world’s first double folding mobile phone. This symmetrical double-folded form perfectly combines the experience of the tablet and mobile phone, which is both practical and beautiful. Although it is still an engineering machine, it is sent out for everyone to see. Welcome everyone to forward / comment / like. If you like it, we will consider making a mass production machine in the future.
In addition, we want to give this engineering machine a name, what do you think is good? I think of two: Xiaomi Dual Flex, Xiaomi MIX Flex. Welcome everyone to make suggestions!
The phone looks like a small tablet that folds into a smartphone about the same size as a regular phone. What’s more impressive is that the user interface transitions from tablet to smartphone mode almost instantly. It’s not as perfect as in the previous clip, but this is just a prototype. The idea here is that these foldable phones would continue to work while they’re being folded. That means you won’t have to stop what you’re doing just because you need to fold the display. Similarly, Samsung’s phone should transition the action from the internal display to a smaller outer screen when it’s folded.
It’s unclear when Xiaomi will launch the phone or how much it’ll cost, but the company will apparently consider mass producing it. We even have tentative names for the phone, including Mi Dual Flex and Mi Mix Flex. Again, nothing has been finalized so Xiaomi may go a different way.