The world’s first foldable smartphone is here and, before you ask, no – the device isn’t made by Samsung or LG. In actual fact, it’s produced by a small California-based company and is called the Royole FlexPai.
The brand itself describes the product as the “world’s first commercial foldable smartphone,” but in actual fact, it looks more like a tablet – when unfolded the screen measures 7.8-inches, although this does drop to just 4-inches when folded. The display itself is also produced by Royole and is of an AMOLED nature. The company has paired this with Android 9 Pie straight out of the box complete with its own UI, dubbed Water OS, on top. This custom overlay adapts according to how the device is being used – as soon as it’s folded in half, it switches to a smartphone-like UI.
While the smartphone’s main focus is its display, the spec sheet is rather impressive too. Nowadays, most flagships that aren’t produced by Apple or Huawei come running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845. This model, however, takes things a step further by supposedly utilizing the next-generation Snapdragon 8150 that is yet to be officially unveiled by Qualcomm. The processor is then paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base model, although those willing to spend a little extra can purchase a version with 8GB of RAM and either 256GB or 515GB of internal storage. In either case, the latter figure is expandable via microSDs of up to 256GB.
Over in the camera department, a main 16-megapixel sensor can be found next to the display alongside a secondary 20-megapixel sensor that sports a telephoto lens. When unfolded, it can be used as a selfie camera, and when the hinge is in use it can be used as a rear camera. Speaking of the hinge, Royole claims it can be used over 200,000 times. The device’s setup is complete by a USB Type-C port – it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack – and a 3,800mAh battery that can be charged with the included Ro-Charge fast charger. This allows the cell to go from 0% to 80% in just 30 minutes.
Pre-orders for the product start today in China at a cost of $1,290, $1435, and $1865 for the respective models. It’s unclear if or when Royole will bring this device to the United States, but shipments of the foldable smartphone are expected to begin in December.
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