Huawei was one of the first manufacturers to enter the foldable phone market with the Huawei Mate X in 2019, but all we've seen from the Chinese company since is the slightly tweaked Huawei Mate Xs follow-up. Newly published patents suggest another Huawei foldable could be on the way though, this time adopting a clamshell design.
Documents spotted by the ever-watchful LetsGoDigital outline a foldable phone very much in the style of the Motorola Razr or the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – one that folds down from top to bottom rather than from left to right.
There's a secondary display on the back of the phone, which is visible when it shuts – we presume that's for quickly checking messages, notifications and the like. Again, it's what we've seen from the other clamshell foldables from Motorola and Samsung.
- Rumors around the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- iPhone 12 Magsafe – everything you need to know
- We might see a foldable from HTC as well
When the phone is fully opened out, we get a long and narrow display, which doesn't seem to be encumbered by any kind of notch or selfie camera. If there is a fingerprint sensor on the device, it may be built into the screen or perhaps integrated into the power button.
It's not the first time this year that Huawei has filed patents for a clamshell-style foldable, though the design here differs significantly from what we've seen previously. The secondary display on the outside of the phone is a lot larger, for a start.
As ever with patent filings, this isn't a guarantee that a device like this will actually head to production – patents don't always lead to finished gadgets. However, it is a telling sign of what Huawei is thinking about regarding how to develop its foldables in the future.
We haven't heard much about Huawei's plans for future foldable phones to date: a Huawei Mate X2 is believed to be on the cards, but it may fold in the opposite direction to the two Mate X devices that Huawei has put out up to this point.
Having both a traditional foldable phone and a clamshell foldable in its range would give Huawei parity with Samsung, though it doesn't look as though the company is going to unveil anything soon – we might have to wait until 2021 for this to show up.
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.