- Xiaomi’s new patent sees earbuds shoved directly into a phone.
- The design is based on patents filed in China and the Netherlands.
Xiaomi has never been one to shy away from daring smartphone designs, but its latest concept may be a bridge too far for some. The Chinese manufacturer has reportedly patented a smartphone that carries wireless earbuds within it.
Dutch publication LetsGoDigital, drawing inspiration from two patents filed in China and the Netherlands, has crafted renders of the device to imagine just how curious a design it would be. Check out a GIF below for a better idea of the design.
According to the patents, the earbuds slot into shafts at the top of the phone. The heads of the earbuds can pivot to point upward when stored, but also at right angles to fit the users’ ears when in use. This design suggests these earbuds could double as loudspeakers for the smartphone, but it does raise questions of cleanliness too. It’s unclear just how unhygienic earbuds would be exposed to your hands, pockets, and the outside world, and then placed in your ears.
Xiaomi’s design could face other roadblocks to reality too. It’s not clear if Xiaomi would need to fit its smartphone with a larger battery and additional components to adequately charge the earbuds. This may also negatively impact the room available for other components too. We’ve seen companies regularly remove the 3.5mm headphone port to allegedly accommodate larger batteries (among other reasons). How would two earbud-sized holes impact this?
There are obvious advantages though especially for forgetful folk. Bolting the earbuds to the smartphone itself does mean it’s less likely you’ll forget them at home (without forgetting the phone itself too). It also means that there’s one less item to carry in your bag or pocket.
Despite this, it’s unlikely we’ll see a device like this break patent status, at least any time soon. Wireless earbuds remain fairly bulky in design, so a device would have to be designed around them to work effectively. This also suggests it would need a smartphone that’s thicker than the current trend.
Nevertheless, Xiaomi’s patent is a breath of fresh air in a smartphone industry arguably growing stagnant. Rarely do we see these types of designs parade as anything more than marketing tools. But unlike the spectacular Mi Mix Alpha‘s all-screen gimmick, this design does seemingly have advantages worth exploring.
Do you think it’s something Xiaomi should release in the future? Would you buy it? Vote in our poll below.