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OnePlus patent suggests a dual-hinge foldable phone may be in its future

Two hinges allow for a bigger display and more versatility.
News
By
November 22, 2021
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Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A OnePlus patent has emerged detailing the company’s possible foldable phone ambitions.
  • The device in question packs two hinges and can fold into a triangle if need be.

OnePlus could be the latest big hitter to join the foldable phone race. Per a patent spotted by LetsGoDigital, the company is envisioning a unique device that’s a stark departure from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Huawei Mate X2.

The patent describes a OnePlus folding phone that uses two hinges instead of one, dividing it into three folding sections. The thickest section, which likely houses the battery and essential internals, rotates around the larger hinge. When this main section is tucked away, the phone can be used as a traditional glass sandwich. The second hinge supports two thinner sections. When these are unfolded, it allows the phone to effectively triple its display area.

OnePlus’ design also has some practical benefits too. The phone can prop itself up by folding its screens to form a triangle. To prevent the hinges from slumping in their various configs, OnePlus employs magnets activated by a mechanical slider.

See also: The best foldable phones

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a dual-hinged foldable. TCL unveiled a concept back in 2019 which folded and unfolded in the shape of a Z. Samsung Display unveiled its idea for a multiple folding screen earlier this year. While the form factor seemingly allows manufacturers to cram even bigger displays onto pocket-sized foldable phones, the additional hinge introduces another point of failure. The complexity of triple-folding phones may result in even higher list prices at a time when traditional foldables are already considered too expensive.

Of course, this is merely a patent filed by OnePlus and patents don’t necessarily guarantee consumer products. This may simply be OnePlus’ bid to reserve its portion of this niche. But don’t rule out the company’s foldable plans just yet, especially as rumors of its BBK siblings’ foldable projects gain steam.