The concept of foldable phones is still in its infancy and while we’ve seen some pretty eye-catching design, a new patent from Oppo has surfaced online that shows a model which is nothing like anything we’ve seen yet. The patent was applied for in mid 2020 at the Japan Patent Office and has received approval this month. It represents a clamshell foldable that can bend from two hinges. Oppo has been quietly patenting and experimenting with a few foldable designs, however, official talk from the giant phone maker has had us less enthused at the prospects of seeing any foldable in the near future.
Coming to the patent itself, there are four designs that have the same premise but vary slightly.
The first one has six blocks and two hinges. There’s also a big chunky bottom bezel or base that somewhat similar to what Motorola offers on the Razr foldable. It houses the cameras. The two hinges mean that users have the choice to fold the phone while still keeping part of the screen visible which isn’t possible with any clamshell foldables right now.
The second patent is more impressive and looks like a more evolved and polished design. It doesn’t have the big chunky bottom base. Instead it has triple cameras on the back. Also, since the top hinge folds on top of the screen while the bottom hinge folds backwards, the phone can be extremely compact.
The third patent shows a form factor that is rather elongated as it has eight blocks instead of six. It still has two hinges Now, we don’t know the exact length of this design, but the two hinges do make it manageable as the top portion folds backwards (behind the screen).
The fourth patent is similar to the third model, however, it folds inwards and also sports a triple camera setup on the back accompanied by an LED flash which isn’t visible on the previous patent.
All these patents imagine a clamshell design that is even more compact than the current form-factor and can alter the camera performance for the better. However, it would also mean more crease in the middle and more moving parts that could falter in the future. The phone could also be used in many different positions due to the gymnastics allowed by the hinge. That said, as far as patents go, these may or may never see the light of the day. And as far as we’re concerned, we would love to see Oppo give it a shot to bring some fresh ideas in the unfolding space of foldables.
Speaking of clamshell foldables, there isn’t much competition at the moment. Samsung and Motorola are the only two brands selling a product in the space with the Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr.