How much news have we heard about flexible – and optionally foldable – smartphones over the past several months? A whole lot, and they have mainly focused on LG and Samsung. But no, a rather unknown company called Royole has presented a flexible smartphone prototype.
Under glass display at the Royole stand, there were no functional prototypes of the flexible phone to be seen. However, the CEO always carries a functional copy on his person. And I was privileged to be allowed to handle it, as the other visitors could only gawk at the prototype from behind a glass box.
Royole has presented a flexible smartphone. / © AndroidPIT
Hurdles in flexible smartphones
In a sense, this flexible smartphone is a smartwatch/smartphone hybrid, since it can be worn on your wrist or, alternatively, used as a long smartphone when folded out. As it’s a bit stiff to bend, you don’t need to fasten the smartphone to your arm.
Editors and smartphones smile, because building a flexible smartphone is no trivial matter. / © AndroidPIT
Not only does it need a bendable display, but the accompanying touchscreen sensors need to be flexible as well. And, of course, the insides, such as the processor or batteries, must be designed in a manner that they can be accommodated in changeable housing. Royole has cleared all these hurdles, especially as both the sensors and the display have already been developed in-house. Thus, the flexible smartphone’s prototype is also a demonstration of proprietary technology.
“The technology is there!”
It’s still anyone’s guess if Royole will develop the prototype into a ready-to-market product. Marketing Manager William Strand confirmed that this is possible in theory: “The technology is there; the decision