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Brace Yourselves for a Foldable Phone Invasion

According to reliable source Ice Universe, three new foldable phones will appear at CES and Mobile World Congress. And that doesn’t include the new Samsung Galaxy foldable (or Huawei, I suspect, judging by his comments).

One may very well be from LG.

Credit: TechConfigurations

(Image credit: TechConfigurations)

Yesterday we saw the first ever foldable phone, called the Flexpai. Made by Chinese electronics company Royole aka Rouyu Technologies, it is a 4-inch smartphone that expands into a 7.8-inch tablet, thanks to its 1920 x 1440 pixel AMOLED screen and a custom version of Android that can work when folded and expands when open, taking advantage of the full screen.

But the Flexpai — which ranges from a whopping $1,290 to $1,863, depending on the configuration — looks quite pedestrian in the video. This is not the future portrayed in Westworld. Certainly, it’s nothing like what most people are imagining.

MORE: Samsung's New Foldable Phone Screen May Be Galaxy Infinity V

Ice Universe — who first reported on the Flexpai — warns to expect the same roughness from the three new unknown phones coming next year: “Next year, CES and MWC will have at least three smartphone brands releasing foldable phones (not including Samsung),” he said on Twitter, “but I want to emphasize that the first ones are not necessarily the best.”

We will have to see how Samsung and Huawei’s offerings compare to these phones — or Apple, for that matter. Samsung may tease their Galaxy X (or Galaxy F) at their developer conference next week, but our money is on CES or beyond.

Phone rumor whisperer Evan Blass claims that he knows LG “plans to unveil a foldable phone as its 2019 CES keynote.” Perhaps this is not one of the three brands that Ice Universe is referring to because it ’s hard to believe that LG — or any of the other A-list companies —would release anything that looks so half baked.

According to Digital Trends, LG’s head of global corporate communications Ken Hong didn’t comment on the rumor but says that “anything is possible at CES.”

But one thing is clear, both Huawei and Samsung have lost the battle to brag about being the first company to release a foldable phone.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.