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Royole FlexPai: World's first folding smartphone launches at CES

Mirror logo Mirror 08/01/2019 Ian Morris
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We knew that Royle's FlexPai was coming, as the handset was announced last year for the Chinese market. But at CES 2019 the company announced more widespread availability.

The phone is being demonstrated on the show floor, but we got a look at it in the hands of a man wearing a hat that featured a curved LCD screen - very apt indeed.

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It seems likely that the phone will have a fairly beefy spec. It's rumoured to have Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor and a couple of different memory options - 6GB and 8GB.

In this photo taken Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, is a FlexPai smartphone with a flexible screen displayed in San Francisco. Royole Corp. recently unveiled what it is billing to be the world's first smartphone with a flexible screen so the device can be folded like a billfold. The phone will go on sale next month in China only, but Royole hopes to release it in the U.S. next year. Samsung announced its plans for its own foldable-screen phone in San Francisco on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Liedtke) © ASSOCIATED PRESS In this photo taken Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, is a FlexPai smartphone with a flexible screen displayed in San Francisco. Royole Corp. recently unveiled what it is billing to be the world's first smartphone with a flexible screen so the device can be folded like a billfold. The phone will go on sale next month in China only, but Royole hopes to release it in the U.S. next year. Samsung announced its plans for its own foldable-screen phone in San Francisco on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Liedtke) The folding screen is, obviously, the main event here. How the phone performs remains to be seen, but the idea itself and the execution seems solid.

Royole has tested the folding mechanism and says it's good for 200,000 articulations. That should see most people through the normal life of the device without problems.

The device itself has been one of the big hits of CES. Many people were gathered around the demonstration unit trying to get a glimpse of the phone and there's a lot of excitement for a device that has beaten Samsung and others to the market.

In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo is a FlexPai smartphone with a flexible screen displayed in San Francisco. Royole Corp. recently unveiled what it is billing to be the world's first smartphone with a flexible screen so the device can be folded like a billfold. The phone will go on sale next month in China only, but Royole hopes to release it in the U.S. next year. Samsung announced its plans for its own foldable-screen phone in San Francisco on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Liedtke) © ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo is a FlexPai smartphone with a flexible screen displayed in San Francisco. Royole Corp. recently unveiled what it is billing to be the world's first smartphone with a flexible screen so the device can be folded like a billfold. The phone will go on sale next month in China only, but Royole hopes to release it in the U.S. next year. Samsung announced its plans for its own foldable-screen phone in San Francisco on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Liedtke) While the folding screen on the FlexPai is far from perfect, it's certainly proof that this technology is viable and we should see it evolve quickly from now on.

Phil Elford, Head of Technology at Argos from retailer Argos told Mirror Online:

“After months of speculation, we’re delighted to see the launch of the world’s first smartphone with a foldable screen, the Royole FlexPai." 

© Credits: Ian Morris "We are sure this will delight customers as we have seen a growing demand for larger screen sizes which provide a better experience for activities such as video calling and watching their favourite TV shows and movies.”

The FlexPai will cost around $1,300 for the 128GB model and about $1,450 for the 256GB variant. Hardly affordable but not earth-shatteringly costly either.

Royole Flexpai review: has it jumped the gun? [The Verge]

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