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This foldable phone can lengthen its display by unwrapping it from the rear

Foldable phones don't always have to unfurl like a book.

Published onFebruary 12, 2021

vivo Z1x with focus on vivo logo
  • A folding phone patent by vivo suggests a novel use of folding display technology.
  • The device can lengthen its display by unfolding a screen wrapped around its bottom edge.
  • The folding portion of the screen can also be used as a rear display.

Vivo hasn’t yet dipped its toes into the folding smartphone splash pool, but that may be set to change. The company has filed a patent for a unique design that would let users lengthen the main display as required. Spotted by 91Mobiles, the patent was filed with the Chinese patent site CNIPA and details yet another reimagination of the foldable phone.

Vivo’s example doesn’t fold in half. Instead, part of the display wraps around the phone’s bottom edge but can also fold back around to lengthen the front display. There aren’t any dimensions stated here, but drawings suggest this fold-out display would increase the front display’s length by around 25%.

See also: The best foldable phones you can buy

The folding section of the display, when stowed, can likely be used as a secondary display at the rear. As we’ve seen with other devices with rear displays, it could be used as a selfie camera screen while using one of the four main snappers. No selfie camera is apparent in the sketches, so it could be sunken beneath the display or absent entirely.

This design seemingly has other drawbacks. As the flexible display and hinge reside on the bottom edge of the phone, it’s even more prone to bumps, scratches, and lint. Additionally, unless vivo’s employing wireless charging, the USB-C port has to be stationed at the top of the device, something many phone users won’t be used to. A long display will also be a nightmare for one-handed use or those with smaller hands.

That said, the advantages are also as apparent. A longer display means more content suited for vertical viewing can fit on the display. It would be pretty handy for Twitter or Reddit browsers. The foldaway nature of the display also lets users extend this screen when needed. Finally, such a design could allow vivo to build a shorter, more compact smartphone that extends into a larger device. This would let it serve users on both sides of that fence.

Would you buy a phone with a foldaway display like this?

217 votes

It should be noted that vivo’s design is merely a patent filing at this point, and that doesn’t guarantee it will be used on a consumer-ready device. vivo is rumored to ship a foldable smartphone in the second half of 2021 which could sport a Samsung Display-made screen. It remains unclear what design philosophy the Chinese firm will employ on that particular device.

Would you buy a phone with a foldaway display like this? Let us know via the poll above.