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(Pocket-lint) - Xiaomi has been working on a foldable phone for some time, in fact, various types of flexible smartphone have been leaked, including one with a double fold

It's no surprise then that the company could also be working on unusual ways to utilise cameras in its folding phones. A recently unearthed patent shows one way in which the same primary cameras could be used both with the phone open and shut, for selfies and for regular phones. 

When open, the two primary cameras face the user, along with the big unfolded screen in the middle for full-screen selfies. On the other half of the screen there's a corresponding cutout, so that when the phone is folded shut, the same cameras are used, alongside a third camera that's on the rear of the phone. 

The argument for using this design appears to be that it reduces cost, by requiring no additional camera for taking selfies with on the inside, but we still feel the design may end up being a little jarring for users if ever put into production. 

seekdevice/xiaomiLeaked Xiaomi patent reveals very unusual camera setup for a foldable phone image 1

Opening up a full screen in a foldable phone, and having one side with a corner cutout and the other with cameras built into it will mean quite an unusual viewing experience. 

Of course, with it being a basic patent drawing, it doesn't mean Xiaomi will end up actually developing it as a fully fledged product. SeekDevice - the site which first published the patent - states that the it was approved by the China National Intellectual Property Office (CNIPO) on 23 June, however no direct link to the patent is provided. 

Given how Xiaomi loves to play around with form factors and push the boundaries of physical design, we wouldn't be at all surprised if a prototype shows up somewhere though. 

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When it first launched the Mi Mix - a bezelless beauty - it seemed like something completely out of this world, and the most recent Mi Mix Alpha (which wraps the screen nearly all the way around the body) is similarly extraordinary. 

Whether it becomes a real product you can buy is yet to be seen though. But if anyone can make a phone like this, it's Xiaomi.  

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 26 June 2020.