More smartphones are set to feature foldable clamshell screens but is it more than a fad?

American media outlets are reporting that patent applications filed by Chinese manufacturer Huawei indicate that it may soon launch a folding-screen clamshell smartphone. It would thus be following the trend started by Motorola with the Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

This isn’t really a surprise, given that Huawei was a pioneer in foldable screens with its Mate X, out in Spring 2019, followed by the Mate Xs. This time, it seems the idea is to offer a clamshell design, which would make it more compact and practical.

Even if it’s a niche market with devices priced at more than €1,500, Motorola and Samsung took the leap in the beginning of 2020.

The advantage of the clamshell design, besides the nostalgia for those who owned one in the early 2000s, is the possibility of using it in any position. Its hinge, which was designed to hold the phone open, facilitates taking selfies as well as recording videos, as it is possible to film oneself without needing to hold the phone. This goes for video calls as well, as the phone can be set on a table while its user moves freely.

Another advantage of this type of device is that its shape lends itself well to multitasking. This means that users can, for example, watch a video on the upper part of the screen while taking notes on the bottom.

What remains to be seen is whether these patents, filed with the CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration), will result in a finished product.

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