Startup beats Samsung and Huawei to launch the first foldable phone

Chinese foldable screen startup Royole has launched the "FlexPai" at an event in Beijing, claiming it can withstand 200,000 "folding" motions


After months of Samsung and Huawei claiming that they will be the first to launch it, Royole Corporation, a small Chinese technology startup, has unveiled the world's first commercially available foldable smartphone at an event in Beijing.

Founded in 2012, the Chinese company headquartered in California, specializes in manufacturing flexible displays.

Its new product, dubbed the "FlexPai", features a 4-inch AMOLED display that can be unfurled into a 7.8-inch tablet and is powered by Android 9.0 Pie, however the company also has built its own Water OS interface running on top of it. The product can switch between a tablet interface when the display is unfolded and when folded it presents three separate smaller screens on the front, rear and spine of the device.

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Royole has claimed that the FlexPai can withstand 200,00 open-and-shut movements before showing any signs of overuse. "If those numbers are accurate, that equates to folding and unfolding the device more than 100 times a day for five years before the hinge starts to experience problems," T3 noted.

"It is a historical moment that we have been waiting for years (to see)," said Bill Liu Zihong, co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Royole. He added that he believes the technology will be very popular because it will cater to consumers who want a smartphone with a large display that is still easy to carry, reported South China Morning Post.

Depending on memory and storage specifications, the phones will cost between 8,999 and 12,999 yuan ($1,290 to $1,863), a cost akin to the new iPhone XS Max which prices at around $1,449 and will begin to be delivered in late December.

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