Royole Corporation, a start-up based in California, has launched what looks like the world’s first foldable smartphone. The phone-tablet hybrid known as FlexPai, was launched last week in China’s capital Beijing on October 31, and went on sale for 9,000 to 13,000 Yuan (about $1,295 to $1,871).
Yes, “looks like” because it’s a little unbelievable that Royole, which is just six years old, has bypassed the biggest players in the smartphone industry to literally bend the rules and unfold the next generation of devices in this industry. Samsung, Apple and Huawei, the leaders in the global smartphone market, were favourites to first introduce a foldable or bendable smartphone.
The CEO of Samsung mobile had dropped a hint that in November 2018, Samsung would offer the first glimpses into such a device which the company has in the pipeline. One of the concerns Samsung had for the device is that when unfolded, it should have more functionality than just a regular tablet. They would probably have to go back and enhance their plans a bit, now that a similar one has made its entry into the market.
The 7.8 inch screen FlexPai, which weighs 320 g, is usable whether folded or unfolded. It boasts two cameras, and when folded, each side has a camera ready to shoot. When folded also, a dual view mode allows both sides to simultaneously provide image preview for the camera.
The device also boasts a decent package in specs: a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 6 GB RAM and lots of ROM with MicroSD expandable storage, dual SIM, Bluetooth, WLAN/hotspot, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, barometer and more.
Royole envisions that its bendable FlexPai which will change the smartphone industry forever, will perfectly solve the problem of portability for the high definition large screen since it’s as portable as a smartphone and can at the same time afford the HD display of a big tablet.
According to the CEO of Royole, the company would invest 200 million Yuan into companies that would develop apps and software for the FlexPai. As things stand now, it appears the device does not run the Android OS, so it will be a while before regular apps become abundant for it.
Royole will start delivering the device to consumers around the world in December. A 128 GB version of the device is selling for $1,318 while the 256 GB version is going for $1,469.