Leaked photos of what is assumed to be Xiaomi‘s long-rumored folding smartphone have apparently just surfaced on Chinese social media site Weibo (via MyFixGuide). The photographs show a person on a subway using a large folding device, which is clearly running Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 custom Android interface. This suggests that the device is either a folding phone or folding tablet prototype by Xiaomi.The device in the pictures is indeed clearly not a final product, with rather large bezels and crease, and most notably, no front-facing camera. The latter in particular could be due to the device’s prototype status, or less likely, Xiaomi has implemented under-display selfie camera technology into its seemingly-plastic display. On the left side of the device there’s a visible slot that resembles a stylus holder.
If this is a foldable smartphone and not a tablet, it could be the largest folding phone we’ve seen yet, as at least in its current state, it appears to be larger even than an iPad mini. The device also doesn’t look similar to Xiaomi’s folding smartphone patent from October. That latest patent showed a folding phone more akin to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Huawei’s Mate X foldables.
In related news, Xiaomi just recently joined other Chinese companies such as Huawei in getting blacklisted by the U.S. administration, so whether this folding device makes it to market or not, U.S. citizens could have a hard time getting a hold of it.
In any case, how do you feel about a large folding phone like that? Or do you believe this is not a phone and Xiaomi may be about to release the world’s first folding Android tablet? All we can do currently is speculate, but seeing that the Chinese giant actually has a working device now, not just a render or prototype sketch, strongly implies that we’ll finally be getting a folding MIUI device this year.