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Folding screens are being slapped on everything, even this $900 smart speaker

Royole's Mirage speaker sports a 180-degree curved touchscreen, a toxic-ooze canister design and a redonkulous price tag.

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César Salza/CNET
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Last year Royole showed off the FlexPai, a flexible phone, at CES 2019. This year, the company is back at the largest consumer tech show in the world with the Royole Mirage -- a smart speaker with a wraparound touchscreen, a futuristic design and a mind-boggling price tag.

Yes, the Mirage costs a whopping $899. When I asked a developer who he expected to shell out for a device with essentially the same smarts as an Echo Show 5 at 10 times the price, he said it was just for a different audience. Fair enough, I guess. But let's take a look at the specs on the Mirage.

The smart speaker, which really is more accurately called a smart display, features an 8-inch AMOLED display that stretches halfway around the speaker. A 5-megapixel camera at the top takes photos or makes video calls and has an option shutter for the privacy-conscious. 

The speaker houses Alexa, which features all the voice-control smarts you would find on a standard Amazon Echo ( $100 at Amazon ): smart home control, music selection, ready delivery of random factoids and fart sounds -- the works.

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The operating system will be familiar to anyone who's used an Echo Show ( $230 at Amazon ), but it comes with a few bonuses. You can drag your finger laterally to fast-forward or rewind videos and vertically to adjust the volume. You can also change the ambient light on the bottom of the speaker.

It's tough to judge the sound quality of any speaker on the show floor at CES, what with the thousands of people flocking around you at all times. From what I could judge, the Mirage had a decent-sounding product -- though I wasn't blown away the way I have been by $400 and $500 hi-fi smart speakers, and this one costs twice that.

CES always offers fun opportunities to see inventive new products, and though I'm definitely not sold on this one, it's cool to see one possible future for smart speakers.