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It’s clear that Xiaomi is an ambitious company, creating concepts with wrap-around screens, and other devices with 108MP cameras. But its latest patent filing may suggest its ambition hasn’t quite peaked just yet.
That’s right. Five cameras, on a single pop-up motorised camera sled which juts out from the phone’s top bezel. It’s completely bonkers, considering that housing a single camera in a pop-up is ambitious enough.
Samsung’s Galaxy A80 also goes so far as to introduce a pop-up and flip system, which allows the cameras to be used as primary or selfie snappers.
Xiaomi’s adopting similar logic here too. A pop-up camera array on one side of the foldable phone will allow users to close the display — to use it for selfies — or extend the display — use it as rear-facing cameras.
On paper, it’s brilliant. In practice, it’s another story.
Pop-up camera phones tend to have issues with weight balance, as experienced on the likes of the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019.
Moving parts — especially on a device that’s meant to bend — could present rigidity and structural issues for the device itself. This is especially important, as Xiaomi’s patent seemingly pictures the system mounted on a foldable phone.
Nevertheless, it’s always exciting to see smartphone makers innovate to solve issues, rather than for innovation’s sake.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a total of five cameras mounted on its rear, front and above the foldable screen.
This idea, if implemented correctly by Xiaomi, will allow users to take advantage of all five cameras however they choose.
Feature image: The Xiaomi Mi 9, by Wang Xiang via Twitter