The leaked prototype shows the design of Xiaomi’s foldable phone

A few years ago, in 2019, Xiaomi has filed a patent application with CNIPA for an outdoor foldable smartphone. This basically means that the smartphone screen wraps around the back of the device and can be unfolded to increase the screen size.

Although this smartphone never saw the light of day, three years later developer Kuba Wojciechowski launched Real photos of a prototype of the device. Although it’s still in poor condition, it’s a fascinating piece of technological history.

And from what we can see, the smartphone concept is made as a crude but faithful prototype. We can distinguish four cameras, an LED flash, and a button below that allows the smartphone to unlock when pressed.

There are also several shots inside, where you can see a 3,500mAh battery, and thanks to a GSMArena report we know it’s equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip and X50 modem, which had 5G support.

The look is very reminiscent of Huawei’s Mate Xs from 2020, which got a successor last April. Smartphones like this still feature a strap — a small piece of real estate reserved for the cameras and buttons, which also acts as an extra grip when you open the smartphone.

Why hasn’t Xiaomi’s foldable smartphone been released abroad?

We may never know why this prototype was never produced, but rumor has it that it is related Durability issues. After all, foldable screens are notoriously easy to get scratched and damaged. When folded, this same screen covers not only the front, but also the back of the smartphone, which means that users have to be very careful when placing it on any surface, or even in their pockets.

Xiaomi has moved to a more expected internally foldable design, like the MIX Fold 2 earlier this year. This smartphone really shows what the brand is capable of, bringing major innovations in terms of the lightness and thinness of the foldable device.

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