Royole FlexPai

Foldable Smartphones Are The Latest Ridiculous Tech Innovation

Photo: Royole PR

Just as quickly as smartphones became smaller, in recent years, we’ve seen them get larger. Even Apple, a company that once pioneered the mantra of “smaller is better,” is now making smartphones with 6.5-inch screens (iPhone XS Max).

While most smartphone manufacturers have been busy working on bezel-less screens that optimize screen real estate, Royole wanted to go in a different direction. Years ago, it was sold on the idea of having a tablet-sized screen on a smartphone without sacrificing mobility. The end result is the Royole FlexPai, the world’s first foldable smartphone.

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With a surprise launch last week, the FlexPai quickly found its way to the forefront of tech conversation. Using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series SoC, it bears a monstrous 7.8-inch screen and 20-megapixel camera all within a form factor that is roughly the size of your wallet.

The FlexPai sports quite a few neat features including a dual view camera mode so you can flip the phone around in any orientation and still see your beautiful face in addition to dragging functionality that’s most similar to a full-blown desktop operating system. In other words, this thing is radically different from anything we’ve seen in the smartphone industry this year.

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The FlexPai is definitely the first of its kind, somehow beating Samsung to the “foldable phone” punch, but many are arguing that its build quality appears cheap, as if it were made by Fisher Price. Don’t be mistaken: this beast of a machine is certainly not made in the same factory as the best-selling Fisher-Price Little People Share & Care Safari Playset. Rather, it’s an over $1,300 piece of technology that presents what could be the most radical revolution in smartphone technology during the past 24 months. Or, it could end up being a dud. We’ll find out soon enough.

If nothing else, the technology developed for the FlexPai’s foldable screen (and Samsung’s upcoming smartphone built with the same premise) will likely find its way into the home TV market sooner than you would imagine.

The catch is that, for now, it’s only available in China.