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Bizarre Oppo smartphone patent hints at a pop-up second screen

Image Credit: Vivo

Pop-up cameras are fast becoming all the rage, with the likes of Oppo and Vivo leading the charge, but now the former Chinese smartphone manufacturer could be working on a new pop-up (or folding) component - a second screen.

That's according to a patent submitted to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in October 2018 (and spotted by LetsGoDigital), which apparently shows a triple front-camera set-up with a slender, almost bezel-sized, display which rises up above the trifecta of snappers.

The patent notes: "the first display screen is movable relative to the second display screen to move from a position spliced with the second display screen to a position separated from the second display screen, and the movement manner of the first display screen includes but is not limited to moving or flipping."

That means the smaller screen (which the patent notes as the 'first display screen') may pop up like the cameras we've seen on the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X, or may actually fold out on a hinge.

Fold or slide? Image Credit: LetsGoDigital

Fold or slide? Image Credit: LetsGoDigital (Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

The foldable future?

Foldable phones have been stealing headlines during the first two months of 2019 with the Royole FlexPai, Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X all breaking cover.

All three have one thing in common - huge price tags. With firms looking at smaller folding displays - such as the one shown in this patent - it would help reduce the cost of handsets while still delivering a new form factor and functionality. 

There's no guarantee this technology will make its way into a handset, as Oppo may just be testing out different implementations - but it could well be a sign of what to expect in the future.

John McCann

John joined TechRadar a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs of some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.