According to a new USPTO listing, Xiaomi is planning on taking a different approach in the aim to produce a rollable smartphone.
In the patent pictures, we see the display of the device rolls out from both its left and right side. This extends the screen so it can become bigger, ditching the need for a foldable panel in order to have a smartphone-sized footprint with the functionality of a tablet.
Another possible advantage of this concept could be the ability to have different aspect ratios on the Xiaomi rollable phone. By extending only one side, the phone could adopt a 16:9 shaped form factor, suitable for watching videos and movies, yet more compact than extending both sides. When both sides are extended, the Xiaomi phone will adopt a more squarish form factor, perfect for reading or drawing.
It seems like the screen rolls in on the back of the phone, which could make for a design similar to Xiaomi’s Alpha concept, which had a screen that extended to the back.
The pictures also reveal that in order for the back to accommodate the display, the camera setup is placed in the middle in a horizontal layout. It consists of two or three cameras, as one could be the flashlight. The mechanics of the new technology are also shown, with each side of the display extending with a gear-wheel type of mechanism. Xiaomi’s first rollable phone could come in 2022, as for 2021 the company is focused on releasing its first foldable phones.
Last year, Oppo was the first company to unveil a rollable phone with its Oppo X 2021. While the phone was only a concept, it was indeed working. This concept had only one side of the display rollout.
Before LG called it quits, it announced a working rollable concept too – the LG Rollable. The concept also extended the screen from one side only. The company even had plans for commercial production of the device. Even if LG is now out of the business, it could still become one of the biggest rollable panel suppliers, as it has the needed technology and production capabilities.
Allegedly, Samsung is also planning on releasing a rollable smartphone next year.