The Mi Mix Alpha was a smartphone unveiled back in late 2019. It had a very amusing design. It had a wrap around display on the front, sides as well as on the back. In early 2021 they debuted their first foldable samrtphone: The Mix Fold. The Mi Mix Alpha however was only a concept smartphone- never perfected. Only two YouTubers got to use the phone, and it never entered commercial mass production mostly because they could not explain why a wraparound display would be useful to a user, except the design part.
Now, there have been recent reports that Xiaomi has patented a new smartphone that effectively combines both of these designs. Seeing the appeal of such a design, Xiaomi has apparently filed a patent last year, but the document was made public only this year. This device is most likely still in the patent stage, and there is a slight chance that there are working prototypes.
We can see the inward folding design from the above picture. The outer secondary screen on this phone is not a separate one, but it is the exciting wraparound part of the phone, making it look really futuristic.
Just like the Mi Mix Alpha, there is a thicker portion in the image that holds the cameras. The Mi Mix Alpha did not have a front facing camera, but for this one, the wraparound display enables us to use the primary cameras as selfie shooters as well.
Foldable Wraparound: The Problems
However, the Mi Mix Alpha did not enter production stage due to the strenuous task of manufacturing multiple wraparound displays and optimizing them. It is a really difficult task to do, even for Xiaomi, which is what led to the subsequent cancellation of the original Mi Mix Alpha. Now, this smartphone will need to overcome the problems faced during the Mi Mix Alpha: The Wraparound Display, and it also needs to manage to do that in a foldable design.
This makes it much more difficult. Adding a folding mechanism to a smartphone is complicated enough, let alone adding it along with a wraparound display.
There is also another problem: The Battery. The Mi Mix Alpha had pretty sub par battery life, and adding a folable wraparound on top of that will need either really really good battery optimization and enhancement, or it will need a muvh larger battery, atleast 6000 in Milli Amp Hours, neither problems are currently solved. We do not want the smartphone to look really large and bulky and we don’t want it to to be too heavy either. So, this is yet another untackled problem.
This is, however a very unique foldable design and it looks overall similar to the Mi Mix Alpha, the Mi Mix Fold, Huawei Mate XS and the Galaxy Fold. The camera array looks similar to the Mate XS. This design draws inspiration from several innovative phones like this and it looks really good. However, we do not know the kind of protection used on this, because folding Gorilla Glass is not a thing yet. The inward folding design should provide decent scratch resistance.
The camera frame on this wraparound foldable could also serve as a grip for holding the device. The selfie cameras and the primary cameras are the same on this smartphone. It is right now unclear if the external display will be as delicate as the wraparound one. And we still do not see a use case of a wraparound foldable display, hopefully Xiaomi communicates it this time.
Possibility of crossing patent stage & Conclusion:
Not to mention, this foldable design is just a patnet and it is currnetly unsure whether this will become a reality. It is still in patent stage. We do not know if there are working prototypes. And if it is well received we might see it go to commerical production, if they can get past the hurdles and get the tech right.
There have previously been several rumours that Xiaomi is planning to build a second foldable smartphone: Successor to the Mi Mix Fold, sometime at the end of 2020. We did cover that leaks of that phone in this article here:
Is the patented wraparound folable smartphone that was covered in previous leaks? No. Most likely not. These two are completely different smartphones, mainly because the rumours point to the Mi Mix successor arriving with a 120Hz Primary Panel from Samsung and a 90Hz Secondary Display from VisionOx. But since this device is already extremely difficult to build because of the wraparound foldable design, adding a higher resolution or high refresh rate screen at this stage will be next to impossible. Even if they do manage to do it, it will significantly raise the costs a lot. Current foldable phones are alrady very expensive.
With that being said, let us know what you think of this new innovative wraparound foldable smartphone from Xiaomi. Will it go past the patent stage? Will they solve the battery issues and the rest of the hurdles? Is there a necessary use of the wraparound except a design factor. Do drop a comment down below.
Thanks a lot for reading!