The world’s first foldable phone gets a next-gen model with 5G
Chinese phone maker Royole sat on the map when it defeated Samsung and Huawei in the release of the world’s first foldable phone last year. Never mind that it was a spectacular failure. This week the company unveiled a version of this next-generation phone, the Flexpai 2, during an online event streamed from the Chinese city of Shenzhen on Tuesday.
Royole’s newest foldable display, which opens and closes like a book, extends into a 7.8-inch screen when the outward-facing flexible screen is unfolded. It also has the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 4,450 mAh battery, and a quad camera module. According to Bill Liu, CEO of Royole, the company has nine different bands covering regions like the US, Europe and China.
The Flexpai 2 has a 40% thinner and lighter design than its predecessor, Liu said. The Flexpai 2 is about 0.24 inches thick when flat and about half an inch when folded, making it thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2.
One of the major improvements, according to the company, has been made to its hinge that runs along the back of the device. Royole claims that the hard-wearing and “mechanically robust” hinge can withstand 1.8 million folds. CNET was unable to verify these claims.
The original FlexPai, which was unveiled at CES 2019, features a bendable 7.8-inch AMOLED screen made from flexible plastic and has a resolution of 1440p. However, the foldable model has received much criticism for its clunky, prototypical design, flawed software, and nondescript user interface. Royale says it fixed the issues that plagued the first generation foldable. Since its inception, the original FlexPai has been largely forgotten due to stiff competition from competitors for foldable phones like the Motorola Razr, Samsung Galaxy Fold, and Huawei Mate XS.
With 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, the Flexpai 2 is available on the Royole website for 9,999 yuan (approx. $ 1,470, $ 1,150 AU $ 2,040). International release details were not shared. It runs on Android-based Water OS 2.0 and supports multiple windows, so you can split screens across multiple apps and drag and drop between them.
- processor: Snapdragon 865
- display: 7.8 inch flexible OLED display
- resolution: 1,920 x 1,440 pixels
- Cameras: 64 megapixels (main), 32 megapixels (selfie portrait), 8 megapixel telephoto, ultra-wide camera (116 field of view)
- battery: 4,450 mAh
- software: Android 10
- UFS 3.0 storage
- Two speakers
- 5G capability