Foldable smartphone has a fully flexible display

November 02, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Royole Corp. (Fremont, CA), a flexible display manufacturing startup founded by Stanford engineering graduates, has beaten smartphone leaders Apple and Samsung to the launch of the world's first foldable smartphone.

The FlexPai smartphone is based on a version of Royole's second-generation flexibile full-colour OLED display which can be used folded or unfolded and gives the product the form factor of a smartphone or a tablet. The FlexPai also makes use of the 7nm Snapdragon 8150 from Qualcomm

The 7.8-inch diagonal screen has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,440 at 308 pixels-per-inch and has been demonstrated to have an endurance of 200,000 bends at a bend radius of 3mm. The on-board software is called Water OS but is based on Android 9 Pie, according to reports.

The Android base should make plenty of applications available while the Water OS top level presumably provides switching of apps between the different display modes and orientations.

When folded, FlexPai also has a third screen, the edge screen with a resolution of 390 by1440 pixels and an aspect ratio of 21:6 and can be used to show notifications of calls, messages and emails as they are received.

The phone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon Series 8150 processor and includes twin cameras; a 20-megapixel telephoto camera for distant shots and a 16-megapixel wide angel camera for selfies.

However, it would seem in its rush to get the first foldable out there Royole has fully accepted that this is a prototype or calling card to show other companies what it can do. Reports have said this looks like a prototype and not something Samsung or LG would release.

The FlexPai is dubbed a "developer model" according to those reports. It is also expensive at US$1,318 for the lowest cost memory configuration, they report.

Deliveries are scheduled for December, so technofiles can get a foldable phone for the gift giving season.

Royole was founded in Silicon Valley, Shenzhen and Hong Kong in 2012 by three Stanford and Tsinghua engineering graduates and has raised more than US$1.1 billion, of which some has been invested in its 1.1-million-square-foot mass production campus


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