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While 2020 was the year of the folding smartphone, at least for Samsung, it seems 2021 will bring a number of rollable, expanding devices to market.
Expanding smartphones with rollable OLED screens of course offer similar advantages to folding smartphones such as switching from a phone to tablet form factor, while avoiding disadvantages such as creases, duplicating screens and cameras and being overall thinner.
Xiaomi has recently filed a patent for their own take on such a device, which has now been beautifully rendered by LetsGoDigital.
Their October 2019 patent offers a unique implementation of the support behind the screen which delivers the rigidity the device needs in expanded mode, and can expand to almost double the width of a regular smartphone.
The process is activated by a button and variable expansion is supported.
As somewhat of an overkill, the patented device will also have a second external screen at the back, which will offer several uses such as a camera viewfinder. This combination will, however, avoid the need for a front-facing camera. It is unlikely to make the device any cheaper however.
See a video render of Xiaomi’s expandable phone below:
It is not known if and when the expanding smartphones will hit the market, with LG’s Rollable device most likely to hit shelves early next year.