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Royole's FlexPai: So bendable phablets are a reality now

14 Nov 2018

We’ve gone from bricks to smaller bricks to clamshells, slide-opens, QWERTY keyboards, rectangular smartphones, and phablets – and now it seems the future of mobile is foldable.

A US-based firm called Royole is delivering on that age-old problem of not being able to fold up your devices (who hasn't ever wished they could fold their phone or their tablet up...)

Flexpai will be the world’s first commercial smartphone/tablet (phablet) that still manages to hold on to industry-leading mobile chip technology like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series SoC. In other words, you can bend it, fold it, any way you want it. 

But don’t expect it to run Android – Royole has created its own operating system called Water OS that automatically adapts to different viewing modes based on how you folded the device.

When unfolded, the FlexPai will support split-screen mode, multi-tasking, dual SIM cards, screen size adjustment and more.

“The interface on the primary and secondary screens can mutually interact with each other, or independently use different interfaces without interfering with one another. Users can also get notifications on the edge screen side bar, which can be used to manage calls, messages, and other notices that may disturb the primary and secondary screen usage.”

It will also have a 20 megapixel telephoto lens and a 16 megapixel wide angle lens for selfie and normal photo shooting mode.

“Fast-charge is powered by the company's own Ro-Charge technology, which delivers a speed increase of 40%. Other features are also readily available on the device, including expandable storage with MicroSD, fingerprint ID, USB-C charging, stereo speakers, and more, the company says.

Are you intrigued yet? Tempted to try your best to put its flexibility to the test? The Royole team subjected FlexPai to bending, twisting, and tension tests more than 200,000 times.

Royole is probably counting on its technology to change the world – or at least that’s what Royole CEO Bill Liu believes.

“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 says.

The company will pour US$30 million into its ‘Developer Support Project’ to help software developers create apps for the FlexPai.

“FlexPai is a new start for us, and I am confident it will improve people's lives. And, through the 'Developer Support Project', we plan to grow the ecosystem, enabling consumers to experience their favorite apps in a new way,” Liu continues.

So is this the new dawn of the foldable device, and will it be available in New Zealand?

The FlexPai developer model is available to order worldwide, however Royole only mentions that the consumer model will be available to Chinese consumers. Royole expects to start fulfilling orders in late December 2018.

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