Samsung was late for his own party, and Royole FlexPai, the "first" smartphone with a bent screen, stole the attention of the audience. If the future is to be like that, then I get off.
It was a secret mystery that the giant from Korea is working on a smartphone with a display that can be bent. At the end of last year, the Chinese, however, nudged Samsung's nose. The company from Korea waited too long to confirm this information, and as a result, the leader's shirt will not be assumed.
Just before the presentation of the Galaxy F with the flexible Infinity Flex display , a little-known manufacture called Rouyu Technology boasted its own device of this type . She managed to do it at the last minute and thus overtake Samsung.
FlexPai is therefore the first smartphone with a bent screen ... which is to enter mass production.
The concept is completely new, of course not. LG had a Flex model on offer, in which the screen was flexible to a limited extent. Sony, in turn, years ago had on offer a folding tablet with two screens, which divided a thin frame. In the past, several companies presented prototypes of flexible displays in phones, but until now they were only crazy ideas, not ready products.
FlexPai is supposed to be the first foldable tablet-smartphone, in which the display bends, which will go beyond the prototype phase, thus outpacing the smartphone with a flexible screen from Samsung. No wonder it arouses emotions. Royole, because under this brand FlexPai developers exhibited at CES 2019, brought some copies of their device to Las Vegas, where I had the opportunity to bend the screen myself.
I will not say that I am really charmed or enchanted.
During the fair there was not much problem with watching most of the new equipment. I did not even have to wait more than a few minutes to test the eye movements in HTC Vive Pro Eye in practice, although only two pairs of goggles were available at Tobia's booth.
The biggest queue was to the stand, where you could exchange the old smartphone case for a new one for free. There were a lot of people willing to talk about FlexPai. It aroused similar emotions, like refreshed Nokia 3310 and BlackBerry KeyOne - two phones that proved to be the hit of Mobile World Congress in 2017.
However, the folded smartphone was one of the few products to watch queues.
However, I am convinced that the folded smartphone will remain the same curiosity as the two mentioned devices from the MWC exhibition from 2 years ago. The Nokia 3310 and Blackberry KeyOne are nostalgic, and Royole FlexPai is a foretaste of the future, but the mechanism is the same. They arouse interest because they are something other than the producers usually present, but at the same time it is difficult to find reasonable arguments for actually buying them.
In addition, FlexPai is still more like an advanced prototype than a device that could actually hit store shelves. If I took out the equipment in this condition from the box, I would return it immediately. And it's not even that the phone - or maybe the tablet folded to the size of the phone? - it is unwieldy, the harmonica on the other side of the screen resembles gum from the bazaar, and the image quality calls for vengeance to heaven.
It is not even a problem that the folding mechanism works reliably and requires the use of quite a lot of force.
I am also able to understand why a loud slam is heard when the device is bent. I am a bit more worried that it would be redistributed again, and we have to make another effort. It can be folded with one hand, for example, keeping the edge of the device against the table, but the distribution is more difficult. In addition, by bending and folding the screen, I made some commands every now and then - it was impossible to touch the touch screen.
However, the operating system is the biggest FlexPai hub. Admittedly, Android detects the bending of the screen by rescaling the application interface - and the user can choose whether to display the wallpaper when putting on an unused part of the screen, or whether he prefers to extinguish it - but he was tragic. Software optimization could help, but there is still a long way to go before FlexPai before it becomes usable.
After a quarter of an hour of bending the phone, I still did not come up with it when it might actually be useful.
I know that even in our editorial office you can find enthusiasts of the idea who see the future in smartphones, but after a few minutes of Royole FlexPai I join the group of skeptics . The foldable device will never replace the 11-inch iPad Pro, and the 5.7-inch iPhone XS is now fully sufficient to use mobile applications on the run.
FlexPai has a 7.8-inch display, and this is not enough to eliminate the need to carry a tablet with me. In exchange for expanding the working surface in the phone, you also have to accept too many compromises. The very fact of bending the surface on which the content was displayed makes an impression, but that would be enough.
I am now waiting for the movement of LG, Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung , who decided not to present the Galaxy F prototype at the Las Vegas trade show. I hope that the Infinity Flex screen will be much better than what the Chinese have proposed - and if it is a device of a similar quality to FlexPai at the moment, then Samsung would be better off not displaying it at all.
I was already playing with a broken smartphone. Live Royole FlexPai can disappoint