The world’s first foldable smartphone has been put on sale by a California start-up, beating companies such as Samsung to the punch.
Royole, a specialist in flexible screens, unveiled the “FlexPai” phone at an event in Beijing. It says it will start shipping the device, a combination between a smartphone and a tablet, in December.
Flexible displays allow large-screened phones that can fold up to fit in a pocket. As displays have got bigger in recent years, consumers have had to sacrifice portability, and bendy screens are seen as a possible solution.
They have been an ambition for many large smartphone makers but companies have struggled to ensure the screens are of sufficient quality and affordable enough to appeal to consumers.
Samsung, which first unveiled a prototype flexible phone in 2008, has said it plans to unveil a foldable handset by the end of the year, and is expected to show off its efforts at an event next week. Apple has filed patents for its own flexible displays, while LG is expected to unveil its own in the coming months.