Notable leaker Evan Blass yesterday tweeted a video that shows a tablet-like device running Android that folds backward in two places to turn into something that looks like a conventional smartphone.
The unknown user opens Google Maps, zooms in and out, folds the device backward with the application still running and apparently usable, before swiping up to close the app via a gesture command. The user also uses the compass button on the right-hand side of the Maps app to go to their geolocation, so it appears that the device has a fully functional curved touch screen.
As Blass notes on Twitter, he doesn’t know if the video is authentic or a convincing fake, but the person who leaked the video to him says it’s a Xiaomi device.
For now, the clip prompts more questions than it answers. How do the folded parts of the screen function when on the “back” of the smartphone? How does the camera operate, and do how the left and right sides of the screen snap into place?
This approach is different from other foldable phones that we’ve seen. Samsung’s device uses two touch screens—one on the front and one on the back—that can be folded out to turn the device into a tablet. Meanwhile, the FlexPai is what manufacturer Royale says is the world’s first foldable phone. But it appears to be early days for the device. In our hands on, it required two hands to fold it and made the occasional cracking sound as it unfolded. It also had trouble detecting device orientation so it could not seamlessly switch from tablet to smartphone mode.
Xiaomi will be at Mobile World Congress next month, so we might hear more then. There, it would face off against rival Oppo, which is reportedly bringing a foldable device to the show, too.