ZTE launched its first foldable smartphone, the ZTE Axon M, in 2017. As expected, the device was delivered with a double IPS LCD panel, which is held together by a hinge. Given that it was one of the early foldable devices, Axon M was pretty good with some flaws and improvements. Since then, we've seen several different foldable devices from brands like Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei.
Aside from the devices introduced, we also saw some impressive designs in the patents. Now we have another patent from China's CNIPA. This time we look at the tri-fold display that ZTE is working on.
ZTE tri-fold display design surfaces online for a patent
This is not the first time that we have heard of the tri-fold smartphone. At the beginning of this year, TCL presented its concept phone with a tri-fold display. This device has managed to steal the limelight thanks to its impressive conceptual aesthetics. In contrast to TCL's zick-zap pattern, ZTE seems to take a different approach.
According to the patent, there is a fixed display in the middle, while the two displays are on either side. As soon as you have finished using it, you can simply fold the device from both sides and slide it onto the middle display. In simpler terms, we're looking at a side fold design with the sides folded over the middle section.
If you look closely at the pictures, you will also notice the presence of a thicker chassis on the right side. It appears that the right side contains major components, hence the thicker dimension. This design choice is quite similar to that of the Mate X series.
Unfortunately, the patent does not speak about the openings for the connections, buttons, cameras and more. This means that it is only a patent of the form factor. Additional information or newer patents may appear online that may reveal more.
When can we expect the new design selection from ZTE?
As with most of the patent-related stories we covered earlier, we want an emphasis on something. If the smartphone manufacturer or a company registers a patent, it does not necessarily mean that we will see the end product. In most scenarios, the patent is just something a company was researching at the time.
Against this background, it would definitely be interesting to see how the ZTE takes over the tri-fold display design for future foldable devices