When you think of folding smartphones, you probably think of Samsung’s (poorly designed) Galaxy Fold, or the Huawei Mate X. Those are both easily the highest profile names in foldable smartphones right now, but as much as they want you to believe they’re the first to market, another company actually beat them to the punch by a few months.
Last November we covered the Royole FlexPai, the world’s actual first folding smartphone. It looked a little clunky and didn’t have Google’s support to make sure Android, you know, worked on this brand new form factor, but they managed to slot in a device ahead of both Samsung and Huawei, and that counts for something.
Not only was the device announced before both of those other tech giants, but it was available for consumers to purchase first, too. No display defects or indefinite delays here.
The phone so far has only released in China and only has plans to be released in China, but for a smaller company like Royole a more limited run makes sense. It’s also a little bit cheaper than its competitors, too, costing just 8999 yuan ($1337) for the base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It caps out around Galaxy Fold levels with an 8GB/512GB configuration that costs 12999 yuan, or $1932.
This thing is almost guaranteed to get buried under the hype and marketing from Samsung and Huawei, but enjoy your window of glory, Royole.