A video claiming to show a folding phone from Xiaomi has been leaked by Evan Blass. In the clip, what appears to be a tablet-sized device can be seen being used to access Google Maps, before both sides are folded backwards to give it the form-factor of a compact (but likely thick) smartphone.
In his tweet, Blass says he can’t vouch for the leak’s authenticity. Rumors that Xiaomi is working on a foldable smartphone have been around since 2016, when a video emerged of what appeared to be one of its foldable screens in use.
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
If the leaked video is legitimate, Xiaomi would join what’s expected to be an onslaught of new foldable devices to come. Samsung showed off its folding phone prototype last year, shortly after the Chinese company Royole demoed a folding device of its own. Lenovo reported that it was working on bendable phones back in 2016, and Huawei is reportedly planning to launch one in 2019. Apple has been quieter about its ambitions for a folding phone, but patent applications suggest it’s exploring the concept.
What’s interesting is that while at least half a dozen companies are working on foldable smartphones, each of them appears to have a different idea about the design. The device that Samsung showed off on stage had two screens, a large one on the inside and a smaller one on the outside for use when folded. The company has also filed patents for many more designs including one with a single screen that folds once or even twice, like the reported Xiaomi foldable.
We’ve seen enough leaked videos over the years that this latest one is hardly confirmation of a new Xiaomi folding smartphone. However, with so many of its Chinese competitors reportedly preparing to release folding phones in 2019, and companies looking to differentiate themselves in a plateauing smartphone market, Xiaomi is unlikely to be too far behind.
The company is due to host a press conference on January 10th where it’s expected to announce that Xiaomi is turning its Redmi range into a separate sub-brand. Perhaps it’ll have one more surprise to announce as well?