The China-based consumer electronics company Xiaomi has recently thrown its hat into the ring of foldable smartphones, presenting a device which – in contrast to its competitors – uses a tri-fold design.
In regular condition, the phone is reminiscent of a medium-sized tablet that can be easily turned into landscape mode by folding its two outer “wings” behind, which then automatically turn off, leaving only the middle of the screen active.
The benefits of having several fold points, rather than just one, will depend on the type of user interface the company will end up adopting for the new device.
Even though no further technical details have been made available, tech industry experts speculate that we are likely to learn quite a bit more during the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2019, which Xiaomi is set to attend.
Based on responses on Twitter, users are mostly positive about the new product (some even offering money up front), which doesn’t yet even have a name – a problem that company president Lin Bin decided to address by asking for suggestions online.
According to Weibo, a video presenting an engineering prototype of the new design, which was published on Wednesday, has already been played 3.5 million times and attracted thousands of comments.
Despite early popularity online, however, some experts are dubious about the phone’s eventual success on the market.
“Although a magnet for gadget lovers, the folding phone’s inevitable high cost and its trade-offs in usability will result in limited shipments. Problems are likely to include poor readability in sunlight, a bulky design to protect the screen’s fold and the need for an external screen,” speculated Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight.
Polarising opinions aside, all we can do for now is simply wait and see, with a good chunk of info likely to drop at the above-mentioned event scheduled to take place at the end of February 2019.