Chinese tech start-up company Royole has claimed the title of "world's first foldable smartphone" before Samsung [SSNLF:US] by releasing their "FlexPai" on November 5, as reported by South China Morning Post on November 8. The device does indeed work as advertised, though reporters who had the opportunity to test the product claimed there are still many flaws. The FlexPai will be released to consumers in China this December, though in the US it will only be available to developers, with prices starting at USD1,318 for 128GB of storage and USD1,469 for 256GB.
As expected, Samsung did indeed display a prototype of a device with a foldable display during the Samsung Developer Conference two days later, on November 7. Samsung also has the backing of Google [GOOGL:US], who announced it will fully support the foldable display in the Android operating system that the device uses. This is not the first time that a Chinese company has beaten tech giants in releasing new technology. Earlier this year, Vivo, owned by BBK Electronics, released the first phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. This was a development Apple [AAPL:US] was expected to release before facial recognition FaceID was announced. With such a high price point for a first-generation product that still has yet to prove its usefulness, Royole will likely find it difficult to sell units.