Oppo filed a patent for foldable phones with a flexible, exterior screen

Since the folding phone craze took off in 2019 with Huawei and Samsung leading the way, other manufacturers including Xiaomi and Oppo are also testing the folding-phone waters.

Back in 2019, Oppo unveiled it’s first foldable smartphone to the public during the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC). Unfortunately, Oppo’s folding device was never released.

Oppo’s patent: What you need to know

We reported on Oppo’s foldable phone with a pop-up camera in 2019 as well, soon after the patent for a smartphone with a telescopic camera was unearthed. Now, we’re back with another patent.

Oppo foldable phone
Image via Let’s Go Digital

Oppo is now experimenting with a clamshell design (think of the Motorola Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip). Instead of folding “open”, like a book, the phone will incorporate an elongated design.

However, Oppo is now considering to place the flexible screen on the outside. A patent to the effect was filed by Oppo with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) back in January 2020.

The 26-page patent was approved and published on 30 July 2020. It’s titled Foldable housing assembly and foldable electronic apparatus and can be viewed here. You’ll need Google Translate.

Design and housing

Let’s Go Digital used the information from the patent to create the 3D renders used in this article. It shows a compact design when folded, with a large screen on the front and back when “open”.

Oppo foldable phone
Image via Let’s Go Digital

The minimalist design includes a metal frame on the top. This will house all the necessary components, such as sensors, receptors and an “angle detection module”. Let’s Go Digital explains:

“The angle detection module calculates the angle of rotation between the two housings – one housing is fitted with a magnet, the other with a Hall sensor – in order to determine how the device is used so that the user interface can be automatically adjusted accordingly”.

Screen and hinges

In addition, the hypothetical phone also has a cylindrical hinge to open-and-close the device. By opening the screen from the back to the front, you can use the entire screen area. 

Oppo foldable phone
Image via Let’s Go Digital

Unfolded, you have an elongated phone screen. While the exact dimensions are not mentioned in the patent documents, it’s safe to assume that it would a 7-inch screen; based on the other information in the patent.

Oppo used Corning Gorilla Glass in its existing range of phones. We would like to believe that Oppo will turn to Corning again for any upcoming foldable devices. Corning, in turn, is working on new foldable tech.

Lastly, the phone will also be equipped with a fingerprint sensor and “iris recognition module”. Not much is known otherwise, and we will report on the camera specifications when such information becomes available.

Image via Let’s Go Digital

When will the Oppo phone be released

We can’t say at this stage. The patent was approved, so Oppo could either be ironing out manufacturing wrinkles as we speak or decide to scrap the project altogether. Only time will tell. However, Let’s Go Digital adds:

“In recent months, there have been several rumours that competitor Xiaomi will release its first foldable phone at the end of 2020 or early 2021. Oppo and Xiaomi are very well matched in terms of innovation and progressiveness, which means that there is a very good chance that Oppo will not wait much longer”.

Disclaimer: Let’s Go Digital’s 3D renders are published on with express permission. These images are for illustrative purposes only and it should be noted that the final product could have a different design.

Also read – This LiFi-enabled Oppo smartphone will be 100 times faster than WiFi

Oppo foldable phone
Image via Let’s Go Digital Protection Status

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