A new patent just revealed that OnePlus is working on a folding smartphone — and it looks a lot different than existing foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The market for folding phones is at an interesting place in late 2021. Devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 have made the niche much more accessible than before, offering improved features at lower prices. Outside of Samsung's handsets, however, there's not much else to choose from.
As great as the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are, the idea of real competition in the foldable niche is undeniably exciting. Google's clearly working on some kind of Pixel Fold, rumors of a folding iPhone have been circulating for years, and Motorola's expected to launch another foldable Razr in 2022. Alongside those companies, it appears OnePlus is also getting ready to throw its hat in the ring.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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On November 22, LetsGoDitital shared a newly-found patent from OnePlus. The patent reveals the design of a folding smartphone from the company, and it's the first such patent from OnePlus that we've ever seen. It shouldn't come as any surprise that OnePlus is interested in the folding niche. With Samsung dominating the market and Apple and Google expected to enter it in the coming years, it only makes sense that OnePlus is also working on its own foldable device. What is surprising, however, is the radical design OnePlus may use for its first folding phone.
As the patent reveals, OnePlus is working on a "tri-fold foldable device" with two hinges. Similar to something like the Z Fold 3, OnePlus's folding phone would have a couple of distinct modes. It could act like a 'normal' phone folded up, but when unfolded, it would offer a much larger canvas for apps, games, movies, etc. However, where the Z Fold 3 essentially doubles its display area in its unfolded mode, the tri-fold design of OnePlus's handset would allow it to have an unfolded display that's three times as large. The tri-fold design could also enable a sort of stand mode — propping up two of the phone's displays while it rests flat on a table.
The idea of a tri-fold folding smartphone isn't entirely new. TCL showed off a tri-fold concept in March 2020, as did Samsung this year. The added functionality of a phone with this form factor is exciting, though it obviously comes with a lot of durability concerns. Samsung's already had a hard time making dual-fold devices like the Fold 3 reliable enough for daily use. If introducing an additional fold and hinge sounds like a durability nightmare, that's because it is.
Will OnePlus be the first company to market with a tri-fold smartphone? It's honestly too early to say right now. This is a form factor OnePlus is clearly interested in, but patents don't always fruition into real products. Regardless, this is a story worth watching. OnePlus's first foldable may or may not take the tri-fold approach, but it's only a matter of time before it breaks into the foldable scene one way or another.
Next: Microsoft Surface Duo 2 Vs. Samsung Z Fold 3
Source: LetsGoDigitalShareTweetEmailSamsung Galaxy A53 5G Vs. Google Pixel 5a 5G: Best $450 Android Phone? Related TopicsAbout The AuthorJoe Maring (1436 Articles Published)
Joe has been actively writing and talking about consumer tech since 2012. His biggest passion lies with smartphones, but he's happy to talk your ear off about just about anything with a CPU. He lives in Kalamazoo, MI with hiswife, two cats, and pit bull/boxer mix.