The rumored ZTE Nubia Z18s promotional poster showing its rear display. smartplay.wang

  • A rumored Nubia smartphone being referred to as the Nubia Z18s has appeared in leaked promo images.
  • The phone would seemingly have front and rear displays and lack a front-facing camera.
  • It’s an interesting concept, but with folding phones on the horizon, is it too late for this type of device?

Leaked images of an unannounced Nubia smartphone, currently known as the Nubia Z18S, have emerged online. The promo shots appeared on Chinese language website smartplay.wang (via GSMArena) yesterday and they reveal a unique take on smartphone design.

The Nubia Z18S appears to come with an almost full-screen front display, as well as a dedicated display on the rear. The pictures suggest this rear screen would be functionally similar to the front display — it just looks like a smaller version of it. It looks similar to the Yota Phone series of phones which included E Ink screens on the back, but with color versions yet to be commercialized, it’s possibly just a low-res LCD.

The phone appears to come with a single, rear camera, but as indicated by the image above, this could still be used to take selfies with the back screen acting as a mirror.

The rumored ZTE Nubia Z18s promotional poster showing its rear display. smartplay.wang

There have been a number of smartphones that have featured some form of rear display over the years, but none of them have really caught on. I’ve always liked the idea, though.

There’s potential for these additional displays to do something few other phones can. The battery efficiency of E Ink or low-res screens means they could appeal to those who do lots of reading on their phone, but they could also offer other little tricks. Things like displaying Google Maps when you’re navigating somewhere, so instead of unlocking your phone every couple of minutes to see that you’re still on the right track, your phone’s back could simply become a live map.

The potential has been there for years, but it feels like the moment’s passed on this type of dual display setup; we’re probably too close to the folding phone revolution for anything really interesting to happen in this sphere.

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