In the uncrowded race of foldables, it seems like Huawei is about to join the “innie” camp with an upcoming smartphone, if this recently granted patent is any indication.
Huawei and Samsung were the first major smartphone manufacturers to bring a foldable phone to the market, and were soon followed by Motorola. However, Huawei’s Mate X was the only one to sport the flexible screen on the outside, a design that is usually called an “outie”. Inward-folding displays are generally agreed to be the more practical approach as the fragile foldable display is protected when not in use.
Interestingly, it seems like Huawei too is toying with the idea of an innie, as revealed by these design patents filed with China's National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) in July 2019. There are a few major observations that could be made. The flexible display will now be on the inside of the phone, just like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The inner display has no notches or cut-outs for selfie cameras, along with very slim bezels. Moreover, the same display seems to extend to the outside of the device, which can be used when the device is folded. This technically means that the phone will have the same display extending to three sides of the frame.
The camera array can also be seen only on the outside, which could imply that the same set of cameras can be used for selfies too. The fourth camera in the setup has a discernibly different shape than the other sensors, and looks very similar to Huawei’s periscopic telephoto cameras. This is an odd addition as folded optics take up a lot of space inside a phone, which would be pretty challenging in a chassis so slim.
As with all patents, the accompanying images are merely for representational purposes, with the actual implementation possibly being different. Furthermore, a patent does not guarantee that the product will ever see the light of day either. Having said that, it doesn’t seem too farfetched for this to be an early look at an upcoming Huawei Mate foldable.
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Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.