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First foldable phone launched, seems as awful as it is expensive

Want a foldable tablet that folds into a smaller tablet? Neither do we, but this company has made one anyway.

Published onOctober 31, 2018

The FlexPai foldable phone event.
  • The FlexPai, by little-known firm Rouyu Technology, is the first foldable “phone” with a flexible screen.
  • The device doesn’t seem to be a phone, however, as it appears to fold into a smaller tablet.
  • Keen on getting the FlexPai? It has a starting price of over $1,200.

Little-known company Rouyu Technology has beaten others to the foldable phone punch, but we really wonder whether they should go back to the drawing board.

The company has launched a foldable phone called the FlexPai, according to ITHome, offering a 7.8-inch screen and measuring 7.6mm thin. The outlet adds that the device is equipped with a 16MP+20MP telephoto pairing, and can reach 80 percent capacity with 60 minutes of charging.

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This doesn’t seem like a fly-by-night venture either, as Rouyu Technology (also apparently called Royole) appears to be a display company specializing in flexible displays. Its previous products include a “foldable 3D mobile theater,” a curved car dashboard, and various flexible sensors.

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According to a tweet by serial leaker Ice Universe, the FlexPai is supposedly going to use the Snapdragon 8150 (also known as Snapdragon 855). This particular Snapdragon chip hasn’t been announced yet, and the device is tipped to go on sale very soon, so we’re extremely skeptical of this claim.

In any event, Ice Universe acknowledges that this is a rough design in order to be first to market and, when viewing the accompanying video, we’re inclined to agree.

This is the “world’s first foldable screen phone” released by Rouyu Technology, which will use the Snapdragon 8150 processor, but its design is very rough, just to seize the “first”, this is a futures product.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 31, 2018

The clip essentially shows a tablet that can be folded into… a smaller tablet. Yep, what we’re basically looking at is a foldable tablet rather than a foldable phone. Isn’t the whole point of a foldable device that it can fit into your pocket? Who wants a large tablet that can be folded into a Dell Streak 7?

Making the screen smaller or changing the screen ratio to make it more ergonomic when folded would definitely deliver a better product. Heck, even changing the design completely would make for a more convenient foldable.

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As for uses, it seems like you can opt for a dual-screen mode when folded, with each side of the screen showing different content. This is in addition to simply having more screen space when unfolding the device.

ITHome reports that the FlexPai will go on sale tomorrow for a limited time, starting at 8,999 yuan (~$1291) for the 6GB/128GB model. The device will also be available in an 8GB/256GB option for 9,998 yuan (~$1434), and in an 8GB/512GB variant for 12,999 yuan (~$1864).

NEXT: What we know so far about Samsung’s foldable phone

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