A California start-up beat Microsoft and Samsung to the foldable tablet/phone

You’re not looking at the Microsoft Andromeda, or the flexible phone Samsung has been rumoredly working on, or Logitech’s flexible phone. You’re looking at the Flexpai, a flexible phone/tablet from California-based Royole. The most interesting thing about the Flexpai is that it isn’t a proof-of-concept. The tablet/phone is literally available for pre-order.

The Flexpai comes with a foldable body and a display that sits on the outside when folded (rather than Microsoft’s Andromeda, where the screen folds inwards). What this means is that the Flexpai goes from single-screen mode to a dual-screen format when folded, with the spine acting as a notification area. You can run simultaneous apps on both screens, with touch working on literally both sides of the display, courtesy Flexpai’s WaterOS.

The screen comes as a large 4:3 7.8-inch display that folds to two 18:9 screens when divided in half. There’s also a 21:6 edge-screen for important notifications like incoming calls. The screen is designed to fold as much as 20,000 times without any damage (which should cover as much as 3 years of use if you fold and unfold the phone 20 times a day, every day). You’ve also got dual-cameras and fast-charging built in too, so there’s no cutting corners with the Flexpai, except maybe for the massive bezel on its one side.

The Flexpai is currently available only in China and costs roughly around $1,571 for the 128GB variant, which seems a little on the expensive side, but that’s the price you pay to be an early adopter of some very revolutionary tech. My advice? Hold off on it till the flexible display market becomes a little larger and more democratized. If you look at the GIF below of a hands-on, you’ll notice that the screen tends to warp a little bit around the spine, and that the transition from single to dual-screen is a little choppy. It’s still extremely impressive though, especially considering big players like Samsung and Microsoft are still trying to perfect the technology!

Designer: Royole


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The rising tide of smallphones and dumbphones

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Over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen quite a few smartphones that went against the cultural norm of innovation and progress. The Punkt MP02 stripped the phone of its addictive camera, screen, and internet connectivity, forcing people to communicate using voice, rather than send each other notifications and messages on apps. The Palm Phone shrunk your feature phone to a size that seemed handy, going against the wave of massive phablet-sized phones with 97% of the front just dominated by pixels.

Kyocera’s KY-O1L is a bit of both (although the name could be a little catchier). A recipient of the Japanese Good Design Award, and also touted as the world’s thinnest phone, the KY-O1L is literally the size of a credit card, and just a couple of millimeters thinner. Designed for the white-collar workers who still rely on business cards, the KY-O1L fits right into cardholders, allowing you to have a phone along with your cards that you can A. carry around with you, and B. Use to instantly make calls, save contacts, and access the web for work-related reasons.

The phone comes with a monochrome e-ink touchscreen, and a 380mAh battery that’s more than enough to power the phone. Built with LTE, the phone can be used to browse the internet too, and although there isn’t an app store (or Android compatibility), the phone does come with a web browser that’s more than sufficient to access information on the web. Running a browser in black and white can be a slightly unnerving experience at first, but it’s definitely rewarding in the sense that it allows you to be purely utilitarian with your phone. A perfect phone for the kind of person who believes in hustling, keeping technology in check while being able to communicate with the world, and most importantly, safeguarding their privacy with technology that doesn’t use apps or cameras to spy incessantly on them. It doesn’t sound that bad when you say it that way, does it?

Designer: Kyocera

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