Pretty much since the beginning of the year, there have been talks about foldable smartphones. While Samsung and LG have been brought up the most with regards to this discussion, other companies have also thrown their hats into the ring. But it appears that a relative unknown could be the first time to market with this type of product, with Royole releasing details for its FlexPai.
Although Royole might not have the same kind of brand recognition like Samsung or LG, the firm isn't a small-time operation by any means. The company was founded back in 2012 by a group of Stanford engineering graduates and "creates and manufactures next-generation human-machine interface technologies and products including advanced flexible displays, flexible sensors, and smart devices".
According to the firm's website, it has accomplished quite a few milestones in its short time of existence, like:
- world's thinnest full-color AMOLED flexible displays and flexible sensors (2014)
- world's first foldable 3D mobile theater (2015)
- world's first curved car dashboard based on flexible electronics (2016)
- first smart writing pad, RoWrite, based on flexible sensors (2017)
- volume production of Royole's quasi-G6 mass production campus for fully flexible displays (2018).
The FlexPai will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8150 processor, 6GB or 8GB RAM, and will have the option of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of internal storage with microSD expansion. The device will make use of a 7.8-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1440. Since this is a phone, it will also have cameras, featuring a 16MP and 20MP sensors.
It will be running Water OS 1.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie out of the gate. When it comes to power, the handset will make use of a 3,800mAh battery. While all of this sounds quite impressive, let's be real here, this is probably the furthest from what you were expecting when envisioning a folding smartphone in 2018 or even 2019.
Regardless, if you have the hankering to sample the future, pre-orders for the device start today in China, with pricing set at $1,290 USD for the 6GB variant with 128GB storage, $1435 USD for the 8GB RAM model with 256GB storage, and lastly $1865 USD for top end version with 8GB RAM with 512GB of storage. Most will likely sit this one out, but hopefully, LG and Samsung will be able to deliver something a bit more refined when it comes to the debut of its interpretation of foldable devices.