ZTE was one of the first brands to launch a foldable smartphone back in 2017. The ZTE Axon M featured two full-sized screens attached by a hinge. However, the Axon M didn’t adopt a seamless folding design as we’ve seen on the Galaxy Fold, and featured a visible hinge between the two displays instead.
ZTE recently patented a foldable phone with a Motorola razr-like clamshell design, and we’ve now spotted a new patent by the brand on China’s CNIPA site. The patent images reveal that ZTE is working on a phone with a tri-fold display.
ZTE patents smartphone with tri-fold display
At first glance, the ZTE foldable smartphone appears to feature the same tri-fold design as the concept smartphone showcased by TCL earlier this year. However, while TCL’s smartphone folded in a zigzag manner, ZTE seems to have gone for side-folding design where the middle part of the screen stays in place, with either side folding over it. The smartphone also appears to have a thicker chassis on the right side, which seems to be housing the main components, similar to Huawei Mate X series smartphones.
It seems like ZTE is patenting only the form factor, as nothing else has been revealed by the design, including the ports, buttons, camera placement, etc. Filing a patent doesn’t necessarily mean ZTE will launch a phone with this design, so we’ll have to wait and see what the brand’s next foldable phone will look like.