Chinese company Royole shows off the 'FlexPai,' its first folding-screen smartphone

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Foldable smartphones seem to be the tech industry's latest obsession. However, though companies like Samsung and LG continue to work away at their own designs behind the scenes, we haven't seen much actual evidence that these devices are feasible, or even in existence.

Samsung may have something for us in the near future -- it teased the concept of a folding phone just a couple weeks ago -- but there's always the chance that the company pulls a bait and switch. So, until one of the bigger phonemakers actually launches a foldable-screen phone, are there any similar devices to look forward to from smaller companies?

As it turns out, yes - sort of. The Verge today reported that Chinese phonemaker Royole has revealed its "FlexPai" tablet-phone hybrid device. A Twitter video seemingly published from a convention showed off the FlexPai in action.

Despite the tweet's wording, the FlexPai has not actually been released yet. The Verge says the smartphone will ship out in December, with pre-orders opening up today for 8,999 Chinese Yuan. There's no indication that the FlexPai will arrive outside of China, however, so it's probably best not to get your hopes up if you're eagerly awaiting the first folding smartphones.

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Xclusiveitalian

TS Evangelist
Look at the reflection of light off the screen, you can see the screen is warped around where it bends. When open the screen looks absolutely distorted and would be annoying and even uncomfortable to touch, however when it is folded it stretches it tight so it wouldn't look at warped.
 

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
Look at the reflection of light off the screen, you can see the screen is warped around where it bends. When open the screen looks absolutely distorted and would be annoying and even uncomfortable to touch, however when it is folded it stretches it tight so it wouldn't look at warped.
Yeah, that's going to be one of the biggest challenges for smartphone makers to solve - the screen warping when they're laid out flat. The FlexPai definitely wouldn't be my first choice for that reason alone.
 
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psycros

TS Evangelist
SIGH..more time spent on expensive, gimmicky hardware when all the customer is wanting is functional, user-friendly SOFTWARE. At least Apple *tries* to get it right - Android apps are overly cumbersome when compared to their iOS counterparts. Google has to be part of the solution, too. Get rid of floating buttons! Get rid of giant labels next to tiny arrows - put the labels ON reasonably-sized buttons like every good UI has done since time immemorial! Make syncing dead-simple and straightforward and stop pushing proprietary solutions for it! NOBODY gives a damn about Samsung's cloud, or HTC's or anyone else's except Google's or Apple's (well, there's that tiny contingent of Microsoft zealots but..LOL). Bring back physical QWERTY on an affordable mid-range device so those of us who remember what productivity was like can get some use out of our mobile devices again. And stop pushing voice so hard in a world where you're never anywhere quiet enough to use it! The utility of smartphones has degraded so much in the past 11 years its pathetic.

*bangs head against Nokia in frustration. Gets concussion*
 
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tipstir

TS Ambassador
Where the transparent ones you just fold and tuck into your pocket. This thing is to bulky and I won't buy it just come out with a better idea.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
More Chinese JUNK but because it is the "first of its kind" will be WAY overpriced.
Folding phones? Gen 1? NO WAY.
 

mcborge

TS Guru
That screen looks way too flimsy to last beyond a few months of use. I can see that they have made the fold as broad as possible to avoid a crease forming but I bet continuous use will cause that folded section to become opaque in no time at all.
 

GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
I have yet to really see what the point of a folding screen phone is. Would rather have a bezel-less phone with the screen going down to the edges (think samsung edge phones but on all 4 sides) and no notch for a camera or speaker.
 
I

iamcts

More Chinese JUNK but because it is the "first of its kind" will be WAY overpriced.
Folding phones? Gen 1? NO WAY.
Every phone is Chinese junk in one way or another. All of the parts are made and assembled there.
 

stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
Biggest issue with bendable screens is that the rest of the hardware is not as bendable. Personally, I would go with a scroll design, which I think Samsung or some else did a prototype like that.