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ZTE Could Beat Samsung With Its Own Foldable Phone

Samsung isn't the only company working on a folding phone apparently. While rumors about Samsung's folding phone that you hold like a book are heating up, another phone maker may be about to unveil a folding design, with the device arriving as soon as next month.

ZTE's Blade Z Max is pretty big, but ZTE could be working on a phone with a foldable display. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: ZTE's Blade Z Max is pretty big, but ZTE could be working on a phone with a foldable display. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

That's the word via VentureBeat, which is reporting that ZTE is working on an dual-screen phone with AT&T that would fold out to form a 6.8-inch phablet. An anonymous source knowledgeable of its design told VentureBeat that the Axon Multy — the phone's apparent name — will feature two 1080p panels on both the the front and the rear. When folded together on a vertical axis, they'll form a 2160 x 1920 display.

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Because the device can be used in multiple orientations, there's only one camera, supposedly rated at 20 megapixels.

The hardware underpinning the unique form factor sounds a little more dated. The Axon Multy could feature the Snapdragon 820, the leading mobile processor from Qualcomm in 2016. The phone will also reportedly feature 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. A 3,120 mAh battery will power the two displays, but the phone still measures less than 10 millimeters thick when folded, according to the report.

ZTE's reported partnership with AT&T could be one of the more interesting tidbits about the Axon Multy's development. AT&T could tout the foldable phone as a companion to its DirecTV entertainment bundles.

We could find out very soon if this folding phone is for real. ZTE is holding an October 17 press event, and phone leaker Evan Blass, who wrote the VentureBeat report, thinks the ZTE Multy could be on the agenda. He expects the phone to cost around $650.

ZTE's timing is key, as a number of companies are experimenting with flexible displays. Last year, Lenovo offered us a glimpse of one such concept designed to be worn like a bracelet. The United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application for a book-like iPhone several months later. In January, the Korea Herald reported LG was even further along toward production than Samsung. This year marked the arrival of bezel-less devices, but at this rate, 2018 could be the year of the foldable smartphone.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.