The World's First Foldable Smartphone Leaves Apple And Samsung In Its Wake

By Team GQ Middle East
05 November 2018
Royole, Samsung, Apple
A Chinese startup beat the global heavyweights to an industry milestone

Is there any limit to what a phone can do these days? They’re a personal ATM, a form of communication, a face-filter, a camera, fitness tracker and the list goes on. But now, thanks to Chinese startup Royole, our mobile devices can now double as a tablet thanks to the creation of the world’s first foldable smartphone, FlexPai.

It’s a huge feat and marks a highly anticipated industry milestone that global heavyweights like Apple and Samsung were gunning for. Whilst the concept of a foldable phone has been in the ether for a while now, Samsung was long-rumoured to be working on not one but two models; one that would open sideways, and another that would open upward. It’s still believed the Korean giant will release a foldable model of smartphone next year, but for the moment they’ve lost to the humble Royale who had the last laugh and began taking orders last week for the wallet-like device. Priced at $1,815 for the Chinese market, sadly, for Middle East tech fans, the phone will only be available as a developer model outside of China with delivery scheduled to begin in December.

When opened, FlexPai has a 7.8-inch display and three smaller screens when folded, with the hinge even acting as a screen. Unlike normal smartphones, which feature glass displays, foldable handsets must use plastic or other flexible materials. Royole claims that the phone’s folding mechanism is quite durable having been put through the folding and opening process 200,000 times to test if it bears the pressure.


The phone can multitask when folded, performing different tasks on each screen, as well as display notifications on its edge. It also features cameras on each side of the handset to take advantage of its flexibility. Royole markets the device as a smartphone and tablet in one. It can be used when folded and unfolded, giving it the “portability of a smartphone plus the screen size of a high-definition tablet.” Stating it will change users perception of traditional models, the aim is to eradicate the need for multiple devices.

Speaking to urdesign, Royole founder and CEO Dr Bill Liu said that the phone “perfectly solves the contradiction between the high-definition large-screen experience and portability, which introduces a whole new dimension to the human-machine interface,” he claims.

“The phone’s inherent design will forever change the consumer electronics industry, as well as the way people interact with and perceive their world,” he added.

Alongside Samsung’s rumoured models, Lenovo and LG are also said to have plans for flexible phones but at the moment, this is just pure speculation.

The FlexPai boasts 7.8-inch full colour display screen, 4:3 aspect ratio, 1920 x 1440 pixel resolution, edge screen notifications and two cameras.

Via GQ Australia