A small Chinese tech firm has bested Samsung—and all other tech giants.
Just days before Samsung reveals its flexible smartphone, the Royole Corporation unleashed its FlexPai device—the world's first commercially available bendable phone. According to Mashable, the smartphone-tablet hybrid was presented Monday during a press event in San Francisco, where reporters got the opportunity to handle the device before its official launch.
Mashable's Karissa Bell said the FlexPai features a 7.8-inch plastic screen—about the size of an iPad mini. While users have the ability to fold the gadget in half, Bell said its bulkiness makes it a little "awkward" to hold. The FlexPai's flexibility seems to be its main selling point, as its software is noticeably inferior to newer smartphone models.
"The phones run a forked version of Android 9.0, called Water OS, which has been customized to support the phone's different-sized displays," Bell said. "Royole says it's still working to improve the software, and from what I saw, it's very much a work in progress. There was a noticeable delay when rotating the screen or folding or unfolding the phone. When it did finally catch up, there were obvious bugs, and some widgets didn't render properly on the screen"
According to Mashable, the FlexPai is now available for pre-order as a developer model. The phone, which is expected to ship next month, will retail for $1,318 for 128 GB of storage and $1,469 for 256 GB.
You can get a glimpse of the phone in the video below.
Samsung meanwhile, is expected to present its long-awaited bendable Galaxy this week during its Developer Conference in San Francisco.
"Unlike our flagship products, the foldable phone is a completely new concept in terms of design and user experience, which requires a different approach," a Samsung told Reuters. "Before we take it to the market, we want to share with developers what we’ve done so far and see what they think of it."