Foldable phones remain challenging and expensive to make, but the number of manufacturers with a foldable in their smartphone range is slowly growing. Now there's new evidence that Xiaomi could be next in line with a launch.
Code spotted in Xiaomi's MIUI 12 by XDA Developers strongly suggests that the groundwork is being laid for a foldable device codenamed Cetus – folding capabilities are mentioned numerous times in relation to the device display.
The code reveals that we're looking at a phone running MIUI on top of Android 11, carrying a 108MP primary camera, and running some kind of Snapdragon processor (most probably a high-end model).
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No other information about the phone is revealed – there's nothing about its size or its release date – but it's one of the biggest hints we've seen so far that Xiaomi has a foldable phone on the way, and it could be arriving at some point next year.
Xiaomi + foldables
If Xiaomi does have a foldable phone in the pipeline, it wouldn't be much of a surprise: we've been hearing rumors about such a device from the Chinese electronics giant for almost two years at this point.
Rumors or not, Xiaomi is a company that likes to stay at the forefront of smartphone innovation, and it won't want the likes of Samsung, Huawei and Motorola getting too much of a head start when it comes to developing foldables.
Earlier this year there was some activity around Xiaomi patents for a device with a screen that bends, and in terms of the device design it had the look of a Huawei Mate Xs – which may or may not be what the finished smartphone ends up looking like.
Considering the mention of Android 11 and the fact that Samsung now has two Folds and a Flip out in the wild, we'd guess that Xiaomi won't want to wait much longer with its own foldable phone – a launch sometime in 2021 is looking likely.
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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.