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Will the World’s First Foldable Phone Be a Xiaomi?

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Chinese tech company Xiaomi — known for their cheap but pretty cool electronics — has successfully engineered a mobile phone that folds (not flips, folds) not once, but TWICE. And if a recent video released by Xiaomi is anything to go by, it might just be the first foldable phone to make it to market.

While foldable rivals such as Samsung seem to be struggling with some of the technology involved, Xiaomi is doing this:

Why would you want a phone that folds twice? Well the honest answer is you probably don’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming your way all the same.

Xiaomi’s model combines the benefits of the large display you get with a tablet with the sleek design of a smart phone. Plus did we mention it folds?

If you aren’t convinced about the awesomeness of this phone, you can check it out for yourself via Engadget’s video above. Xiaomi CEO Bin Lin posted the original footage on his official Weibo account yesterday, giving a sneak peek at the phone’s dual folding feature and putting out an open invitation for netizens to comment what name the company should give their new device.

Of his two ideas, Xiaomi Dual Flex and Xiaomi MIX Flex, most users are leaning away from associating this product with the MIX collection, stylized Mi MIX. But others are saying this phone would top off the collection of phones nicely: staying true to the tag “innovation on full display”. At time of writing, no one has suggested they call it Foldy McPhone Face. Still time.

So, what’s the catch? Well, there are two pretty big setbacks here. Firstly, Xiaomi isn’t operating without competition. Samsung and ZTE have both introduced folding phone technology already, but neither have yet made it to market. Chinese company Royole have also come out with a 1,300USD flexible tablet (FlexPai), but when folded at the joint it leaves a mass of plastic exposed, something Xiaomi’s nameless creation seems to have avoided.

There’s also this guy, but — crucially — it doesn’t fold:

Chinese Brand Vivo Unveils “World’s First” Dual-Display Phone with Screens on Both Sides

As for ZTE, their product features two screens connected seamlessly at the edge that when folded become a single phone with a two-sided phone screen. Although users appreciate the multiple screen display options and 3.5mm audio port, the product has received plenty of criticism for its bulky design, weight, inconvenient camera and finger-print features.

So, if Xiaomi can get this right and get it on sale soon, it could be a pretty popular option. But herein lies the second catch: despite the impressive video footage, this phone is still being engineered, and not yet available on the mass market.

Still, CEO Lin is enthusiastic about the possibility of adapting the product for the public. It may not be too long before users can see this dual-foldable phone with their own eyes and feel the sweet flex technology in the palm of their hand. Weird flex maybe, but one we’re keen to see come to fruition.

Shalena Adams
    Shalena is an obsessive learner of all things related to East Asian Languages, with a special love for Chinese. When not catching up on the latest Korean or Taiwanese Dramas, she is fiddling with her natural hair or dancing to the rhythms of afrobeat and Caribbean music. You can check out her wild journey on Instagram at @ai_lenaak

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