LITTLE-KNOWN DISPLAY MAKER Royole has shown off the world's first flexible smartphone, beating the likes of Huawei, LG and Samsung to it.
Royole, best-known for developing the world's thinnest full-colour AMOLED flexible displays and flexible sensors, showed off the device - dubbed 'FlexPai' - at an event in Bejing on Wednesday.
While the design of the device is somewhat clunky, it's the first to offer a bendy design; when folded out into tablet form, the FlexPai offers a tablet-sized 7.8in display, which shrinks to just 4in when bent.
While this all sounds quite exciting, early hands-on videos (below) with the Royale FlexPai show that the device ends up pretty hefty when folded in half. And the handset's software - Android Pie with Royale's WaterOS skin on top - appears to struggle with the flexible nature of the smartphone.
This is the "world's first foldable screen phone" released by Rouyu Technology, which will use the Snapdragon 8150 processor, but its design is very rough, just to seize the "first", this is a futures product. pic.twitter.com/M0v9o2z0Bw— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 31, 2018
Still, elsewhere, the smartphone's specs are pretty impressive; the FlexPai packs Qualcomm's as-yet-unannounced Snapdragon 8150 processor paired with 6GB or 8GB RAM, users will have the option of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of internal storage with microSD expansion, and there's a meaty 3,800mAh battery. There are also dual cameras on the device, comprising of 16MP and 20MP sensors.
"The Royole FlexPai foldable smartphone provides mobile phone users with a revolutionary, different experience compared to traditional phones," swooned Dr Bill Liu, Royole founder and CEO.
"It perfectly solves the contradiction between the high-definition large-screen experience and portability, which introduces a whole new dimension to the human-machine interface. The phone's inherent design will forever change the consumer electronics industry, as well as the way people interact with and perceive their world."
Royale says it'll hold three flash sales to customers in China on 1 November, with the device set to start shipping in "late December". The FlexPai will be priced between 8,999 and 12,999 yuan (£1,010 to £1,460).
The launch of the Royale FlexPai comes amid rumours that LG is gearing up to launch its first flexible phone at CES 2019. µ
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