Six-year-old China-based technology company Royole introduced the world’s first commercial foldable smartphone this past Wednesday. Called the Royole FlexiPai, the phone can be used both folded and unfolded, giving users the tablet experience with improved portability. The product is based on Royole’s own Flexible+ platform. Flexible displays have been an area of focus for Royole since the company’s inception and it also introduced a full color flexible AMOLED display in 2014.
When unfolded, FlexiPai users can use relatively traditional technologies like split screen mode, drag and drop and screen size adjustment. Once folded, however, the product supports dual screens which are able to interact with one another, or use separate applications independently. The folded phone’s ‘spine’ can be used to manage notifications, calls and messages which would otherwise interfere with the applications being used.
The FlexiPai has been subjected to bending, twisting, and tension tests over 200,000 times. According to Royole the phone can also be folded at different angles.
Commenting on the innovations being introduced by Royole, Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine, has stated, “Take the technology of Royole… Every surface is going to be a screen. That way we’re going to create a smart environment, a smart world, and the way we’re going to interact with it, is through screens. The screens are the communication of that world to me. Royole’s FlexPai flexible screen represents the new era of the screen as the center of our culture.”
BBC News reported that Chinese consumers will be able to buy the FlexiPai from November 1.
In a press release issued on the same day as the FlexiPai was revealed, South Korean tech titan Samsung announced “Samsung will strengthen its competitiveness in the mid-to long-term by leading innovation with the launch of foldable and 5G smartphones.”
It can be ascertained from Samsung’s statement that foldable smartphones will be a major feature of the consumer technology market in the coming years.