Xiaomi’s Galaxy Z Flip-like clamshell coming later this year?

Xiaomi is working on a deal to get hold of flexible displays in order to build its own clamshell folding smartphone, similar to the Galaxy Z Flip, and – reportedly – is bringing it to market towards the end of the year. 

Sources from within the supply chain have said that Xiaomi requested to receive clamshell-folding OLED display panels directly from Samsung Display, suggesting this panel will be almost identical to screen on the Galaxy Z Flip. 

Similarly, in order to prevent it from breaking or becoming quickly damaged, Xiaomi is also working on a similar hinge design to Samsung, so that it can hold its shape at various angles. 

The rumour was reported by ZDNet in Korea, and also suggests that Xiaomi wants to start mass producing these phones in the second half of 2020. 

It’s not the first time we’ve seen rumours of a clamshell folding smartphone from Xiaomi. Late in 2019, patents surfaced indicating the company was looking at the form factor. 

A render published by Windows United earlier on in this rumour cycle gives a good indication as to what this phone might look like. From the looks of things, the Xiaomi device is following some of Samsung’s design choices quite closely. 

As well as being a folding clamshell device, it has a basic, much smaller display on the front for displaying time, network status, battery level and – presumably – notifications. 

So far, folding smartphones have been prohibitively expensive. Whether it’s Motorola, Samsung or Huawei’s foldable smartphones, they tend to retail between £1,500-£2,000; virtually double what you’d pay for a non flexible phone. 

Xiaomi’s challenge, then, will be to keep its reputation intact and offering a device which undercuts its competition and still provides a compelling experience. Whether it can do that is yet to be seen. 

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