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Hands-on with Royole's FlexPai, one of the first folding Android smartphones

For years there have been talks about phones with folding displays. But last year, it finally happened, and it wasn't one of the major players like most had expected. Instead, it was Royole, debuting its folding smartphone with a 7.8-inch display. While there were rumors that LG or Samsung would finally reveal its folding smartphones during CES 2019, it was once again Royole that stole the show with its FlexPai device.

While it's certainly interesting to get to touch and feel the unit, it isn't all that impressive, to be honest, and that's to be expected for a first generation device. Sure, the folding aspect and the technology behind it is cool, but the functionality is atrocious, as proven by the demonstrations given by Royole staff on hand, with glitchy and unresponsive displays, requiring reboots or having the device unfolded and refolded.

But seeing how the unit can fold, you get a sense of what the future holds for such a smartphone. It's almost like a convertible laptop, where you can have it in standard mode, tent mode, etc. They might not all be useful, but it is a way to expand the way a device can be used. If interested in the Royole FlexPai, you can pre-order it from the firm's website for $1,318 for the 128GB model and $1,469 for the 256GB version. According to the site, there could be a delay of up to 60 to 90 days when it comes to delivery due to overwhelming demand.

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