World’s first flexible mobile to go on sale
The race to innovate is one of the mobile phone industry’s biggest challenges, and with history proving the latest invention can result in big business the incentive is real. In the late 90’s Nokia was the king of this, most notably by creating a range of flick phones that proved popular with all age groups. Next Motorola created the Razor, the worlds thinnest phone which proved to be a massive hit globally. And most importantly we have the iPhone, a device which brought the touch screen smartphone into the hands of millions.
So, the question is where do developers go next? Little-known California-based company Royole would seem to be heralding the next major switch for the industry through their new device, FlexPai, which offers the world’s first foldable mobile screen.
The devices’ single display can be folded from the size of an iPhone 8 plus, to the size of an iPad offering the user a usable space measuring 7.8in (19.8cm). When folded up, it presents three separate smaller screens - on the front, rear and spine of the device. The brand expects to deliver a small run to the public towards the end of December, with prices ranging from £1,011 to £1,460 depending on the memory and storage specifications.
The device will also be offered to developers in a bid to boost the number of apps and software packages capable of utilising the adaptable screen.
The launch has certainly caught the attention of the industry’s major players, particular given Royole’s standing as a real unknown manufacturer. An expert at the launch event echoed this sentiment stating:
"Royole gets the bragging rights to being first, and it's quite astonishing that someone you've never heard of is doing this.”
"What's great is that it's putting this into the hands of developers, who will be able to start the legwork that will result in apps for flexible devices that will eventually be sold by Samsung and whoever else.
"You need developers to think through how they can best take advantage of screens that double in size."
It’s clear this new model will be a starting point for many developers, but it gives a real indication of how close this technology could be to mass production. Royole is building its first OLED factory in a bid to compete directly with other display manufacturers such as Samsung and LG. And given the effect of industry disrupters such as Tesla and Uber this new pressure could herald a new mobile tech race.
© Image: Royole