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Xiaomi tipped to join foldable phone race, but can we expect a cheap device?

Xiaomi and OPPO are reportedly working on folding smartphones, but would Xiaomi undercut the competition as it so often does?

Published onJuly 30, 2018

The Xiaomi logo at MWC 2018.
  • OPPO and Xiaomi have reportedly joined the likes of Samsung and HUAWEI in pursuing a foldable phone design.
  • It’s believed the two manufacturers are working with suppliers to obtain key parts for the design.
  • Xiaomi typically undercuts its major competitors in mobile, but would it do the same for a folding handset?

Huawei and Samsung reportedly lead the charge when it comes to developing a foldable phone, but it looks like Xiaomi and Oppo have joined the race, according to ET Times.

The Korean-language outlet reports that both Chinese manufacturers are working with suppliers to obtain components related to a foldable phone. Hinges and foldable displays are just two of the key parts in this arena, so we expect OPPO and Xiaomi to be chasing up these components among others.

It’s believed the two brands will follow HUAWEI and source foldable displays from Chinese suppliers. Nevertheless, LG Display has also been touted as a possible supplier.

This is how the Galaxy X's folding design could work
Samsung folding phone design concept.

ET Times says Xiaomi could be working on a fold-out design, as opposed to HUAWEI and Samsung’s supposed in-folding design. It’s not known what kind of design OPPO is working on.

One key question is whether Xiaomi’s foldable phone will be cheaper than the competition. After all, the brand stands out by offering more bang for your buck than rival manufacturers. It’s perhaps too early to say, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it undercuts the likes of Samsung and HUAWEI. Heck, even Xiaomi’s special edition Mi Mix, featuring 18 karat gold trimmings, was available for ~$590. Then there’s the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, packing more tech than the standard Mi 8 flagship for ~$577.

Axon M
The Axon M has an awesome concept, but the software just couldn't keep up

But why would you want a phone with a foldable display? ZTE’s Axon M (seen above), launched last year, gives us a hint of things to come. The Chinese brand’s foldable phone consists of two separate screens but, by folding the device out, you essentially get a tablet-sized viewing area. And if manufacturers opt for a Nintendo DS-style form factor (with the screens on the inside when folded), you’re getting extra protection from scratches and cracks in theory.

READ: Xiaomi reveals foldable phone prototype: Is this the cheap one we’ve been waiting for?

Are you looking forward to folding phones? Do you think a Xiaomi effort would deliver? Let us know in the comments.

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