A California-based startup named Royole has just beat out Apple and Samsung in the race to release a foldable smartphone. The company unveiled FlexPai last October 31 in Beijing. It is the world’s first folding smartphone and is the latest among the products developed by Royole.
The FlexPai’s specs aren’t comparable to top-of-the-line phones. Still, it is by no means a weak phone in terms of its construction. The device is powered by a 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Series SoC and packs 8GB of RAM and 256GB of ROM. It also supports up to 256GB worth of MicroSD storage.
It runs on a modified version of the Android 9 Operating System. Royole has dubbed their custom OS “Water.”
The phone’s biggest selling point is definitely its unique display capabilities. It provides a 7.8in Flexible AMOLED Display with a 1920 x 1440 display in expanded mode. As advertised, the phone can be used when folded for a compact display or expanded for more media-intensive use.
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In terms of its camera, the FlexPai also does quite well. It sports a 16+20MP Camera that comes with autofocus and an Optical Image Stabilizer.
The phone does come with some heft and bulk. It weighs in at 320g, and it is 134mm x 190.35mm x 7.6mm. When folded, the FlexPai can be a bit cumbersome for regular usage, especially when compared to the mobile phones available in the market.
Leading the pack
Royole has made headlines by beating out tech giants Apple and Samsung who have both publicly announced their goal to develop foldable smartphones. Earlier this year, Apple had managed to secure patents for folding phones. Samsung, on the other hand, has been teasing the concept of a flexible smartphone since 2014. The Korean phone maker is also expected to reveal their own folding smartphone later this month.
Only in China
At present, the consumer model of the FlexPai is currently only available in the Chinese market. Order fulfilments are expected to begin by December 2018.
For those residing in North America, it is possible to acquire a developer model of the device via Royole’s website for USD 1588.00.
— Royole Corporation (@RoyoleOfficial) November 6, 2018
Royole and the future of foldable displays
With both Apple and Samsung close on Royole’s heels with their own folding smartphones as well as patents of their own, the FlexPai may find some difficulty in successfully entering Western markets. Nevertheless, the fact that Royole is the current frontrunner in the development of foldable display technology is uncontested.
There is also an off-chance, however, that the company becomes the target of acquisition by the current market leaders. Both Apple and Samsung are known for acquiring potential competitors.
YouTube – Royole’s FlexPai – the world’s first foldable smartphone.