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(Pocket-lint) - With Samsung guaranteed to unveil its Galaxy Flex foldable phone next week and Huawei said to be showing at least a concept model soon after, a lot is riding on Xiaomi's own bending device.

As it happens though, thanks to some excellent renders to pop up online, we can see that it will have enough of an edge in the forthcoming foldable phone battle. Two, in fact. 

First shown in prototype form by the company's CEO, Lin Bin, the unnamed handset folds two ways rather than the one touted by Samsung and smaller company Royole, with its Royole Flexpai.

The renders, created by LetsGoDigital, give you an indication of why that could be important.

If a foldable phone simply folds in half, the tablet form factor is restricted in size. However, by folding both sides, the tablet can be bigger - more 16:9 in shape even.

Of course, by adopting a slightly different format to rivals presents its own challenge. The software, for example, needs to be custom-made - something Xiaomi revealed in a statement: "One of the key components of the phone, the flexible folding screen, is co-developed by Xiaomi and its supply chain partner. Aside from the screen, its design, folding mechanism and MIUI adaptation are developed by us," it said.

If the final product looks half as good as these renders make out, it could well be all worthwhile.

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 12 February 2019.