World’s First Foldable Smartphone Unveiled

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. retail / ˈriːˌteɪl / (v) – to be on sale

    The new smartphone retails at $999.

  2. get (someone’s) hands on (something) / gɛt hænds ɑːn / (idiom) – to acquire something

    After standing in line for an hour, I finally got my hands on a ticket!

  3. hinge / hɪnʤ / (n) – a part of a device that connects two things together

    The door’s hinges prevented it from closing.

  4. durable / ˈdurəbəl / (adj) – able to resist damage over a long time

    My phone is very durable; I’ve had it for almost five years.

  5. ahead of the game / əˈhɛd ʌv ðə geɪm / (idiom) – having more advantage in a competition

    I’m confident that the launch of our new product will help us stay ahead of the game.


Read the text below.

A start-up has launched the world’s first foldable smartphone.

Royole, a California-based company that specializes in flexible screens, showcased the smartphone at a conference in Beijing, China. Called the FlexPai, the smartphone retails at around $1,290 to $1,870. Those who ordered a FlexPai unit will get their hands on the device starting in the latter part of December.

The FlexPai can be folded in half. When unfolded, its screen measures 7.8 inches, allowing it to function as a tablet. When folded, it turns into a smartphone that has three screens: on the front, at the back, and on its hinge.

The device runs on Water operating system (OS), a custom version of the Android OS. The Water OS enables the smartphone’s front and back screens to function as two independent phones when folded. With this feature, both screens can display two different activities at the same time. The hinge screen, on the other hand, displays users’ calls, notifications, and messages.

According to Royole, the FlexPai’s display is made of a thin plastic material, making it more resistant to scratches and cracks. The device is durable enough to be folded more than 200,000 times without breaking.

The FlexPai is a major breakthrough for Royole. With the device’s launch, the company has surpassed technology giants in releasing foldable smartphones. However, Royole might not stay ahead of the game for long.

Samsung, LG, and Huawei have reportedly begun developing their own foldable smartphones. Samsung is expected to unveil its foldable Galaxy F model in 2019, while LG and Huawei also announced 2019 release dates for their own versions.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you purchase the FlexPai? Why or why not?
• If you were given the opportunity, what other features would you like to add to the FlexPai?

Discussion B

• Why do you think technology companies continuously create new and unique innovations?
• Aside from developing new devices, what other projects do you think technology companies should focus on (e.g. updating older smartphone models, addressing security issues of smartphones)? Discuss.