If 2018 was the Year of the Notch, 2019 could be the Year of the Foldable smartphone.
Not content to wait for next year, Royole this week took the wraps off the FlexPai, a foldable device that doubles as both a smartphone and tablet.
"The Royole FlexPai foldable smartphone provides mobile phone users with a revolutionary, different experience compared to traditional phones," said Bill Liu, Royole founder and CEO. "It perfectly solves the contradiction between the high-definition large-screen experience and portability, which introduces a whole new dimension to the human-machine interface."
When expanded, the device looks like a traditional tablet. But fold the device and suddenly it becomes small enough to place in your pocket. The picture above illustrates what the device looks like in both configurations.
According to Royole, the FlexPai will support split-screen and drag-and-drop when in tablet mode; the software, which Royole calls Water OS, will automatically adjust on the fly depending on which configuration it's in. When the device is folded, Royole says the device will support dual screens that will work with independent interfaces, like having two devices in one.
"Users can also get notifications on the edge screen side bar, which can be used to manage calls, messages, and other notices that may disturb the primary and secondary screen usage," Royole said.
To ensure durability, Royole said it performed 200,000 stress tests where the FlexPai was twisted, bent, and put under tension.
When the FlexPai launches, it'll come equipped with a Snapdragon 8-series processor, a dual-camera setup, expandable storage, fingerprint sensor, USB-C, and fast charge support. Royole's release doesn't say how large the screen is in either configuration, nor how much the device will cost.
The FlexPai is available to pre-order now, with shipments expected before the end of this year.