The first folding smartphone is already here


Royale's new FlexPai folding tablet.
Photo: Royale

The future’s promise to give us folding smartphone-tablet hybrids like the ones found on Westworld has already arrived.

Apple fans will have to wait until 2020 at the earliest for a folding iPhone, but an Android manufacturer called Royole just debuted its folding smartphone and while it doesn’t look that incredible, it’s an amazing sign that the sci-fi tech might finally be ready for mass-market devices.

Take a look:

folding smartphone

The Verge got to go hands-on with Royale’s folding phone called the FlexPai at an event in San Francisco. It’s a bit bulky but the folding screen works as advertised. The FlexPai packs a 7.8-inch screen that can fold 180 degrees. We’ve seen a couple of folding smartphone prototypes already. This is still the first real foldable device though that’s actually ready to be manufactured.

Royale will start selling the FlexPai soon in China for around $1,300. Developers in North America can request a dev version for that same price. It comes with 128GB of storage and RAM options up to 8GB. Units are set to ship in China in December.

Apple, Samsung and pretty much every other smartphone company are currently creating folding smartphone prototypes. Samsung will allegedly debut its folding Galaxy smartphone in just a few days. Apple isn’t expected to have its version ready until 2020 at the earliest. Considering how bulky the FlexPai is, we’re fine waiting a couple years until the tech can be put into a sleek flagship smartphone.