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Foldable phone maker shows off flexible keyboard at CES 2019

Royole, which beat Samsung by launching a flexible phone in November, demoed trippy gadgets at CES 2019.

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Royole's flexible keyboard.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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Even before arriving at CES 2019, Royole made headlines in November when it launched the FlexPai -- a 7.8-inch phone with a flexible AMOLED screen -- during a time when Samsung was only rumored to do the same.

It was hard to imagine that this largely unknown startup managed to make, let alone sell, such a product before Samsung and other giants like LG and Huawei were able to debut their own. (Samsung did eventually give a sneak peak of its foldable phone a month later.)

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Riding the hype of that launch, Royole is at CES 2019 showing off not only the FlexPai but several other devices that implement thin, foldable displays. Namely, a smart speaker, a flexible keyboard and a smart-touch selfie stick.

The smart speaker has a 7.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen that bends at 100 degrees. You can swipe through the screen to play music, watch movies or just tap the interactive home screen.

Though it wasn't set up while we were taking a look at it, the speaker also has an 8-megapixel camera up top that pops up and rotates 180 degrees for taking pictures and video calls. The speaker is also integrated with Alexa and Google, so you can ask it different queries and command it to control your smart home devices.

Royole demoed its flexible QWERTY keyboard as well, which can be laid on any smooth surface and connected to your phone via Bluetooth. It can work wirelessly and when you're done, push the button twice and it'll roll up so you can carry it around in your pocket. On standby I'm told its battery lasts for months. Though it was a little hard to type on, it looks really cool and the transparent surface is thin and flexible.  


Royole's smart speaker has a curved touchscreen.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Lastly, the company showed off its smart-touch selfie stick. It's already available in China at Brookstone stores, and is expected to come to the US in 2019. It features multi-touch sensors around the handle. This allows you to navigate through a dedicated camera app so you can switch between different editing features on the phone.

Official pricing has not been announced yet, but Royole plans to sell the flexible keyboard globally by Q2 2019 through its site and other retailers like Amazon. As for the smart speaker, Royole is still reaching out to retail partners for distribution.

Royole also brought along two other devices that are already available on its site and Amazon: the digital writing pad RoWrite and an immersive 3D movie headset called Moon. They retail for $130 (£102 and AU$183, converted) and $600 (£471 and AU$842), respectively.

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