Chinese electronics manufacturer ZTE appears to be considering ripping off Samsung’s first foldable smartphone, according to newly emerged patent documentation describing what’s essentially a copy of the prototype device Samsung demonstrated early last month during the latest edition of its annual developer conference held in San Francisco, California.
The company’s concept involves a single display panel bendable in half, with its overall form factor resembling that of a booklet. ZTE’s design involves both a front camera system and a rear-facing imaging setup, hence being an evolution of the design introduced with last year’s Axon M, a two-screen affair which featured a sole camera on one of its two sides.
Similar and familiar
A rear-facing fingerprint reader also appears to be part of the package, with the overall form factor being extremely similar to the experimental implementation of the Infinity Flex display Samsung unveiled in early November. The patented concept also lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, which isn’t particularly surprising given how ZTE already started getting rid of the popular audio port earlier this year.
The patent documentation doesn’t mention specific dimensions, though it’s clearly indicative of the overall screen real estate ratios; when unfolded, the concept device would be at least twice the size of its folded mode and would allow for both multi-window multitasking and fully immersive content consumption utilizing the entirety of the device’s screen real estate.
But probably not among ZTE’s priorities right now
Despite its recent struggles, ZTE remains one of the world’s top original equipment manufacturers with vast patent portfolios, so the sole existence of any newly emerged intellectual property doesn’t guarantee the company intends to commercialize any such concept.
Still, with the Axon M receiving a lukewarm response from both critics and consumers alike, many industry watchers are likely to be surprised if ZTE ends up launching yet another take on the foldable phone concept in the near future seeing how the company is only now getting back on its feet and is presumably more interested in selling anything than trying to be on the forefront of the next smartphone design evolution.
Due to that state of affairs, the newly uncovered concept likely won’t be commercialized anytime soon. More