Skip to main content

Meet the strangest foldable phone design yet

Vivo foldable phone concept
(Image credit: 91mobiles)

Wraparound displays could be the future of foldable phones if mobile maker Vivo has anything to do with it. 

A patent spotted by LetsGoDigital suggests that the Chinese tech company may add a foldable phone to its range in the near future. However, it’s different from any device we’ve seen before.  

Most foldable phones feature a fairly practical clamshell design, which makes the device more compact while still being able to offer a fairly substantial screen. The Samsung Galaxy  Fold 2 is a good example of that. And the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, could also offer an evolved take on this design. 

But Vivo's patent takes a different approach to foldables with a phone that has a screen that wraps back around the handset itself.

Almost like folding a piece of paper, the bottom third of the screen would be foldable and stored against the rear of the phone. The screen could then be stretched out to its full length when in use. Or the folded portion of the screen may even function as a second display when tucked into the rear of the device.

The Huawei Mate X does something similar only with its display folding horizontally around itself, a bit like folding a book back on itself. 

Vivo Foldable Phone news

(Image credit: Vivo)

Thanks to 91mobiles we have a pretty solid idea of what the phone would actually look like. Though the images have left us slightly confused about how usable the phone might actually be. 

It doesn’t seem like the most practical design to us, not to mention raises the question as to whether anybody actually needs a super-long phone display in the first place. 

A screen with the unique ability to unwrap is not the only information contained within the patent. The document also gives us a clear indication of what the camera array on this concept phone would look like. 

Vivo Foldable Phone news

(Image credit: Vivo)

The phone would have five rear cameras in a diamond shape, with one of them likely to be a periscope lens. There’s no suggestion of any front cameras in the patent, and it looks like a headphone jack has been omitted as well. USB-C port for charging is visible in the designs. 

Of course, just because Vivo has seen fit to patent this design doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone is guaranteed for release at some point in the future. Companies often patent designs or products that never see the light of day for one reason or another. 

We do expect Vivo to release a foldable phone at some point though. If you can’t wait till then why not check out our rundown of the best foldable phones currently available.  

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.