ZTE launches a dual-screen, foldable smartphone for some reason

The desperate search for smartphone innovation continues as ZTE USA has another go at the dual-screen paradigm for old time’s sake.

Samsung has been banging on about foldable screens for years, but that’s not what this is. Instead the ZTE Axon M features two distinct screens joined together via a hinge to resurrect the clamshell form factor so popular back in the pre-smartphone days. It’s initially being offered exclusively by AT&T, which seems to think it will be a good video consumption device.

“The ZTE Axon M is the beginning of a significant movement of smartphone capabilities, and ZTE is leading the way,” said Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices. “The mobile technology ecosystem and consumer habits have evolved over the past several years, but the smartphone experience has only slightly varied throughout that time until today, with the introduction of the Axon M.”

“We’re thrilled to bring the revolutionary ZTE Axon M exclusively to the nation’s best data network,” said Kevin Petersen, SVP of Device and Network Services Marketing at AT&T Entertainment Group. “Our customers continue to demand more from their mobile entertainment experience. Pairing DIRECTV with the dual screen capabilities of the ZTE Axon M will deliver a new and transformative way to enjoy the entertainment they want on the network they need.”

Here’s what they have to say about the four different modes this dual-screen offers:

  1. Dual Mode: Provides unlimited potential in app combinations so consumers can do more, all at once. With Dual mode, you can watch your favourite professional basketball team or PGA Tour tournament on one screen, while ordering a pizza online on the other.
  2. Extended Mode: Stream, email and play games on a full 6.75-inch Full HD display. Extended mode lets you watch your favourite shows and movies on a larger screen, when and where you want to.
  3. Mirror Mode: Sit across from your friends and watch the same content on one device. Simply fold the device in Mirror mode and place it on a table for easy viewing from two separate sides.
  4. Traditional Mode: When you aren’t watching sports, catching up on your favourite shows, or surfing the web, Traditional mode gives you a great everyday smartphone that’s easy to use and hold in one hand.

Fair play to ZTE for trying to innovate but as is so often the case with gimmickry, this seems to be solving a problem that people didn’t know they had. A dual-screen design is inevitably bulky and when LG tried something like this a decade ago it didn’t exactly set the world on fire. The full launch event can be viewed below if you’re into that sort of thing, but be warned it doesn’t actually start for 33 minutes.


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