Xiaomi's Remarkable Footage Shows the Best Folding Smartphone Yet
For a few weeks now, one of the most exciting foldable phone concept videos making the rounds has also been unconfirmed, with leakers declaring it a possible “gadget porn deepfake.” In the video, seen above, an unnamed executive seamlessly scrolls through a page using a variety of folded screen orientations.
Now, it looks like the foldable phone is in fact real, and made by the Chinese hardware maker Xiaomi, who took the wraps off of its two-in-one tablet and smartphone Wednesday. The executive in the video is the company’s president Lin Bin, and the device he’s demonstrating is just a prototype.
The executive is first seen swiping through the flexible phone as a tablet, opening Twitter and TikTok. He then turns in horizontally and bends the sides of the screen backwards, as if it were a pamphlet, to convert it into a handset you could comfortably call or text with, or slide into your pocket.
The reveal confirms the shadowy video footage of the device that was originally tweeted by mobile leaker Evan Blass on January 3. But other than a brief demo, there’s no word of a release date or potential price tag, which could suggest Xiaomi is planning to improve what they’ve presented.
The video was initially posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo, where Bin described the engineering difficulties the company overcame to create this model. Inverse translated his caption using Google Translate.
“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,” he wrote. “[This] should be the world’s first double folding mobile phone.”
Who gets the real title for “world’s first foldable phone” remains up for debate, but Xiaomi’s take does differ from the other big teases we’ve seen so far. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy F has been teased to resemble a booklet, but we haven’t really seen it in action yet. Motorola’s expected flexible phone will look a futuristic version of the Razr of yesteryear, and LG’s rumored device is expected to unfurl like a scroll. Xiaomi’s design choice, at least so far, stands out of the pack for seeming to offer a seamless tablet and smartphone experience. The more use-cases companies can cram into these devices the better, seeing as they will likely go for upwards of $1,500 based on rumors and estimates.
Almost every major smartphone brand has either announced plans for a foldable phone or has filed patents looking to related tech. With the Mobile World Congress beginning February 25 and Samsung launching the Galaxy F as early as February 20, we’ll be seeing a lot more of these devices very soon.