OPPO has patented a folding smartphone, but not the kind you’d expect. Whereas the ZTE Axon M has two full-size folding displays that come together like book pages, OPPO’s newly patented device uses a flexible screen for different reason: making a bendy, ultra-flexible selfie camera. As the patent illustrations show, the phone has a hinge running horizontally about an inch below the top edge of the phone.
As the illustration shows, the bending part is small, including only a small portion of the screen as well as the front-facing camera. The selfie camera seems to be the big focus here, though also not in the way you may expect. While the bending may seem as a way to get slightly different angles without physically rotating the phone, the patent indicates a different intention.
The phone doesn’t show a camera on the back of the handset — instead, it appears the front-facing camera in this case would serve both as the selfie camera and as the primary rear camera. Need to take a selfie? Do it the normal way. Need to take a photo with the rear camera? Rotate the top of the phone back all the way so that the front-facing camera becomes a rear-facing camera.
The patent was filed in China; it isn’t the first folding phone concept we’ve seen from OPPO, and appears to be one of multiple concepts the company is entertaining. It’s not likely we’ll see this phone come to market, though anything is possible; as with any patent, it could just be a way to get a jump on the competition on a particular design idea even if there’s no actual production plans in place.