We expect many more companies to release folding smartphones in 2021, with Xiaomi believed to be planning to release 3 different models this year, according to display analyst Ross Young.
Now LetsGoDigital has uncovered a number of design patents published today showing 7 different folding phone variations, at least a few of which are expected to come to market.
Two are clamshell designs like the Moto Razr and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
One is a basic design with a small external display, somewhere between the Razr and Flip. It may have no front-facing camera, with users expected to use the main camera and small screen as a viewfinder.
The second design houses a large camera and flash into a thicker unit at one end of the phone. It also has a very large cover display.
Xiaomi also patented a large number of devices with book-style folding screens like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold.
In some of the designs, the external screen is a continuation of the flexible internal screens, simply wrapping around the edge a variable amount. In others, it is a separate panel, usually much smaller.
The designs are also differentiated by the number and size of the cameras, with one design featuring a very large main camera. None of the designs appears to have a front-facing internal camera.
It is not known which of these designs will make it to market, but it is likely none of them will be particularly affordable.
View the patents of the Xiaomi clamshell smartphones , the third clamshell smartphone , the Xiaomi foldable phones with wrap around display and the last two foldable smartphones at the included links.