Remember tiles? They were a staple of the Windows Phone interface and it seems they’re making a comeback, in the weirdest form possible. Apparently, Xiaomi wants to launch a tile-based interface tailor made for foldable devices. We have a patent below detailing it.
Xiaomi has been leaking and working on foldable phones for about a year and a half now. Even in January 2019 there was a big leak showing a working prototype and things seemed close to launch. Here we are close to 2 years later and there’s no trace of it. The new patent shows a tile-based interface concept, that feels very much like Windows Phone. The tiles are also customizable. The smartphone used as a template for the UI feels very much like the Huawei Mate Xs, but also a bit like the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha.
Samsung and Huawei haven’t modified foldable phone interfaces too much. They’ve focused on extra multitasking methods and extra ways of splitting the screen. Xiaomi wants to differentiate from that by using tiles. With MIUI 12 just launched, this patent makes us scratch our heads. This means that the foldables are very far from launch, meant for MIUI 13, or maybe the whole software experience will be forked off in a different direction.
Interestingly, the source mentions the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4, one of the more elusive phones of the past year, popping up on and off in social media and leaks. We did hear it may end up as a foldable phone, but its place was taken by the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha last year. For a while the Mi Mix series seemed dead, but recently the social media account of Mi Mix was revived. Anyway, there’s something brewing over at Xiaomi and I’ve seen at least a dozen patents from them related to foldables.