from the When-are-they-going-to-hold-one-in-Mobile-AL? dept.
The folding hybrid phone-tablets are probably the biggest story to come out of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019.
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Related: Royole Beats Samsung and Others in Race to Create the First Foldable Smartphone
More on Royole's Foldable Smartphone, the FlexPai
Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 8cx, an ARM Chip Intended for Laptops
Samsung Announces the Galaxy Fold, a Phone-Tablet Hybrid Device
Micron and SanDisk (Western Digital) Announce 1 TB MicroSD Cards
A little-known California-based company has laid claim to creating the "world's first foldable phone".
Royole Corporation - a specialist in manufacturing flexible displays - unveiled the FlexPai handset at an event in Beijing. When opened, the device presents a single display measuring 7.8in (19.8cm) - bigger than many tablets. But when folded up, it presents three separate smaller screens - on the front, rear and spine of the device.
The six-year-old company said it would hold three "flash sales" to consumers in China on 1 November to offer the first product run.
[...] The launch has caught many industry watchers by surprise. It was widely believed Samsung or Huawei would be the first to sell such a device to the public.
[...] Another company-watcher added that he doubted the FlexPai would ever be produced in large numbers. "Royole has carried out several publicity stunts over the years to showcase its flexible OLED [organic light-emitting diode] displays," said Dr Guillaume Chansin from Irimitech Consulting. "The FlexPai is probably another stunt. Royole is building its first OLED factory and it is now trying to compete directly with other display manufacturers such as Samsung and LG."
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The FlexPai's anticipated December release seemingly came out of nowhere. Like competitors, Royole had shown off its proprietary folding technology as part of a standalone demos, but it hadn't teased the arrival of a smartphone until the device was ready to ship. It's a far cry, certainly, from the not ready for prime time prototype Samsung marched out on stage last month.
At an event in Shenzhen, CEO Bill Liu told TechCrunch that the company was built around the desire to bring the technology to market. "We started from the flexible displays and flexible sensors," he explained. "We started the company with a focus on the flexible displays and sensors. And then along the way, we realized this could be a huge application for the technology."
[...] It's a difficult problem and Royole solved it with in-house technologies. No one can take that away from the company. I can't say my initial apprehensions were ultimately dissuaded, however. The FlexPai mostly works as desired, but the execution isn't what ultimately the kind of premium product one would expect, given the ultra-premium price tag (around $1,300 American).
Liu happily dropped the phone a couple of times on stage, in an attempt to put to rest any durability question. While the display ultimately didn't crack or scratch, the flexible material looks almost like cellophane and sports crinkles that catch the light — the clarity also leaves something to be desire.
As far as portability, it's true that you can fold it up and stuff it in your pocket, though it's pretty chunky when you do so. Ultimately, these are first generation products — and likely a result of a company pushing to be first to market, knowing full well that companies like Samsung were breathing down its neck.
Don't be an early adopter.
The "X" stands for "extreme." That's what Qualcomm's marketing department wants you to think about the new eight-core Snapdragon 8cx.
It's a brand-new processor for always-connected Windows laptops and 2-in-1 convertible PCs, and from Qualcomm's perspective, it might seem a little extreme. Physically, it's the largest processor the company has ever made, with the most powerful CPU and GPU Qualcomm has devised yet. Qualcomm says it'll be the first 7nm chip for a PC platform, beating a struggling Intel to the punch, and the biggest performance leap for a Snapdragon ever. The company's promising "amazing battery life," and up to 2Gbps cellular connectivity.
The TDP is 7 Watts, and the chip supports up to 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM.
Previously, a "Snapdragon 1000" for laptops was said to be in the works, but with a 12 Watt TDP.
Previously: First ARM Snapdragon-Based Windows 10 S Systems Announced
Snapdragon 845 Announced
ARM Aims to Match Intel 15-Watt Laptop CPU Performance
Intel Reportedly "Petitioned Microsoft Heavily" to Use x86 Instead of ARM Chips in Surface Go
Samsung on Wednesday announced more details about its foldable smartphone, called the Galaxy Fold. At Samsung's Unpacked event, we finally saw what the Galaxy Fold will look like, having only seen the device in the shadows when the company announced its existence in November.
The device will use a "7nm" processor and include 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of internal storage. Oddly enough, there is no microSD slot or headphone jack despite the device's size. Galaxy Fold will include six cameras.
With the Galaxy Fold, you spend big to get access to the beta test. The glimpses I got, brief though they were, during Samsung's live presentation of the Fold in London gave me reason to be wary. First and foremost, the inner display of the device never seems to fold out to be perfectly flat. Light reflections glinting off its surface in the presenter's hand exposed a slight ridge in the middle, a spine where the hinge resides and disturbs the flat plane. The left and right wings of the opened Galaxy Fold also reflected light at different angles. I know from my experience with the Royole Flexpai, the first foldable phone, just how hard it is to combine folding and flatness in one device. Judgment should be reserved until we've had a chance to hold one in our hands, but my first impression is that the Fold doesn't always have a perfect, undisturbed 7.3-inch tablet surface. It's a compromise.
Two companies have announced 1 terabyte microSDXC cards at Mobile World Congress 2019:
Micron's fingernail-sized card uses 96-layer 3D NAND configured as QLC (4bits/cell) storage and delivers up to 100MB/s read and 95MB/s write burst performance helped by a dynamically sized SLC cache.
WD's SanDisk's UHS-I microSDXC, meanwhile, boasts "up to" speeds of 160MB/s reads and 90MB/s writes.
[...] Random IO is up to 4,000 IOPS for reads and 2,000 for writes for both Micron and SanDisk's kit.
The SanDisk 1 TB microSD card will launch at $450 in April, or $200 for a 512 GB version.
The Secure Digital 3.01 specification defines a maximum capacity of 2 TB (2048 GB) for SDXC and microSDXC cards. The Secure Digital 7.0 specification introduced the Secure Digital Ultra Capacity (SDUC) format with a maximum capacity of 128 TB.
Reviewers are breaking Samsung's Galaxy Fold smartphone after just a day or two of use. Some have accidentally removed a protective film that Samsung warned should not be removed, but others, including CNBC and The Verge, have seen the devices break after normal use:
The phone has only been given to gadget reviewers, but some of the screens appear to be disconnecting and permanently flashing on or off.
The Verge's Dieter Bohn posted earlier on Wednesday that his phone appears to have a defective hinge with a "small bulge" that he can feel that's causing the screen to "slightly distort." Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says his "review unit is completely broken just two days in," but noted he accidentally removed a protective film on the screen.
YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee also removed the film and experienced a broken display. A Samsung spokesperson had warned on Wednesday not to remove the protective layer.
However, CNBC didn't remove that layer, and our screen is now also failing to work properly. When opened, the left side of the flexible display, which makes up a large 7.3-inch screen, flickers consistently.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo has had an eventful time at the Mobile World Congress, Shanghai. The company became the world's first to introduce a new camera technology that will become mainstream in due course of time. Additionally, it also surprised everyone by launching an inter-device communication framework dubbed 'Meshtalk'.
[...] Oppo's MeshTalk is a first of its kind technology that's introduced by a smartphone manufacturer. Prior to MeshTalk, apps like FireChat allowed users to send each other messages and photos in the absence of traditional mediums of data exchange such as Cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth networks. MeshTalk, according to Oppo, will also allow users to make calls and send voice messages within a 3km radius in open fields. This radius can also be achieved in urban environments through a phone's relay claims the company.
Our early look at the technology suggests that it's nothing more than an application of the principles of wireless mesh modes to Oppo's smartphones. A Mesh network works by configuring a device to send and receive data packets from another device. For a smartphone, this means that a gadget's WiFi and Bluetooth radios can be configured to send and receive information from other similarly configured smartphones. The aforementioned FireChat app, for example, works according to these principles. However, Oppo claims that a 'custom chip' is behind MeshTalk, so maybe we're looking at a novel approach with the new technology.
Related: Oppo Likely to Release the First Smartphone With 10 GB of RAM
Oppo Smartphone Camera System Includes 10x "Hybrid Zoom"
Oppo Demonstrates 10x Optical Zoom for Smartphone Cameras
A Bunch of Mobile World Congress 2019 Stories