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Foldable Phones: Are they revolutionary, or will they fold?


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Smartphone design in the last few years has been, for the most part, stagnant, with the only change being manufacturers trying to squeeze as much screen on to the front of their phones as possible.

For months, Samsung has been rumoured to be building a foldable smartphone which will fold out into a 7.3-inch tablet.

Yes, really - a foldable smartphone. They finally showed off a working demo of the device at their Developer Conference on November 7.

Image credit: Samsung, SDC18 Keynotes Reveal a Roadmap Toward a 'Connected Living' Future

However, California-based Royole Corporation beat Samsung to it and flexed off their foldable smartphone on 31 October. First of all, a foldable smartphone: do we really need them?

As they are so new, nobody yet knows if they will be desired by the general consumer. I could see it as a good way to avoid having two devices for people who like owning a tablet for the bigger screen. There was a time before smartphones where the focus was on getting them as small as possible, which contrasts today’s phones which are getting larger and larger screen sizes.

The FlexPai by Royole is a 7.8-inch tablet and can be bent in half into the shape of a smartphone. The phone is not just a concept which we will see once and never see again, as it actually went on one of three flash sales in China on 1 November.

Considering how much an iPhone and other premium phones are costing, the FlexPai does not seem excessively expensive as it starts at £1,011. Don't worry about the hinge breaking on this phone as it is tested for 200,000 movements.

However, all of this extra screen and hinge movement results in you getting a heavier phone weighing in at 320g.

When the phone is bent back it will offer three displays which, depending on how you look at it, is either useless or useful.

The phone has a 20MP telephoto lens, a 16MP wide-angle lens, stereo speakers, fingerprint sensor and expandable storage. At least you are getting a high-spec phone as well.

Is this one for the Christmas list?

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