Chinese phone maker Xiaomi recently revealed a device that, at first glance, looks like a tablet. Then it folds up into a phone. While it’s just a prototype, it’s an example of a trend that’s likely to occur in the coming years, as popular device makers begin to sell products with folding screens.
The Xiaomi device, as you can see in the video above which was posted to Xiaomi’s social networks and later put on YouTube by The Verge, looks like a normal tablet at first. But, later in the clip, the tablet is folded into thirds, with the left and right side bent behind the center. The tablet suddenly becomes about the size of a large cellphone, a form factor that makes sense for some things that a tablet doesn’t work well for, like placing phone calls.
Samsung also revealed a prototype phone that can unfold into a larger, tablet-like device. It promised the new phone is “coming soon. Apple hasn’t publicly talked about plans for a folding device, but it has sourced its iPhone displays from Samsung, which means the tech is ready if it wants it.