Google+

Next Gen Flip Phone

ZTE's dual-screen Axon M smartphone
ZTE’s dual-screen Axon M smartphone

Is this the future of smartphones? So far the biggest innovations we’ve seen in mobile this year have been bigger screens and smaller bezels, but Chinese manufacturer ZTE has raised the bar with its Axon M, the first foldable handset with a dual display, suggesting a host of potential uses.

You could browse the web on one screen and compose an email on the other perhaps, or watch Netflix on one display while Twitter scrolls across the second one. Both screens are 5.2 inches diagonally, combining to make a 6.75-inch, 1,920 x 2,160 panel with the two displays both facing forward (admittedly with a large join in the middle).

Maybe the Axon M will be most useful for productivity apps, allowing you to type away on a document in landscape mode without obscuring three-quarters of the screen with a keyboard. ZTE says a three-finger swipe sends apps between screens, or you can have them configured to act like one whole display.

In tent mode, the ZTE Axon M offers gamers the opportunity to play against each other
 Games could also benefit from the dual-screen approach, as with the Nintendo DS family of devices, and if you set the phone up in a tent shape you can play against a friend sat opposite, one screen each. That kind of experience will need some effort on the part of developers, though.