What is Royole’s bendy-screen FlexPai phone?

You may not have heard of Royole as it’s not a household mobile phone manufacturer. However, this California-based company has claimed to have created the world’s first foldable phone, beating well-known brands such as LG and Samsung to be first to market.

Unveiled at an event in Beijing, the FlexPai phone presents a large display measuring nearly 20cms (7.8in) when unfolded. This is significantly bigger than many tablets currently on the market.

But unlike anything currently available, this mobile can be folded up to present three separate smaller screens – on the front, rear and spine of the device. The concept is to have notifications appear on the spine, just like the title and author on a book, with the rest of the phone available for users to send texts, make calls, respond to emails and play games. The larger screen is also more suited to today’s video streaming trends.

The phone will run using Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8-Series Flagship SoC and will have a 20MP telephoto camera and a 16MP wide-angle camera.

Royole has also said that the innovative mobile is capable of withstanding up to 200,000 open-and-shut movements, providing users with years of use before needing a replacement. However, weighing more than 320g, the FlexPai is almost 50% heavier than the smartphones currently on the market and so may not be suitable for everyone.

Manufacturers have said that the phone will be available for consumers in China from November, but it’s not entirely clear when it’s expected to be rolled out to other countries. The mobile unveiled in Beijing is a prototype, so the phone is still very much in development.

Moreover, manufacturers have said that the phone will not be cheap once fully released, likely to start at $1200 depending on memory and storage choices.