From concepts to now prototypes, the first generation of foldable smartphones is finally becoming a reality. While Samsung and TCL talked about their foldable technologies, Huawei's Mate X was available for hands-on experience at the floor of the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. What is even more interesting is the wearable smartphone from Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Nubia. Unveiled at IFA Berlin late last year, it is now that the company is finally out with the device for an experience.
Bridging the gap between wearables and smartphones, Nubia Alpha could wrap around the wrist while offering the functionality of the smartphone. It features a 4-inch flexible OLED screen with 960x192 pixel resolution and a stainless-steel band (in Gold and Black). The device is water resistant and the gold variant features a band plated in real 18k gold.
Running a custom OS, the device can be controlled using gestures. For instance, gestures include air controls, which allow the user to scroll through, or backtrack out of a menu just through hand gestures. Using "clever UI shortcuts, taping on the display takes a photo, while long-pressing records a video".
This new device is equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and e-SIM support for texts and calls. For texting, there is a T9 alphanumeric dialer that might be a little difficult to use for text input. It is reported that they are not high-end smartphone specifications. It is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC, paired with 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage, a 5MP front facing camera along with a 500mAh battery that can last between one to two days of regular usage. It also supports smartwatch features such as activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, and music streaming via Bluetooth.
Expected to go on sale in April this year, the Nubia Alpha has been priced starting Euro 449. According to The Verge, the first version of this wearable smartphone is reported to be a black Bluetooth variant that will be available in Europe and North America. The eSIM variant for data connectivity will come in a little later (most likely by third quarter) and is expected to be priced around Euro 549. The gold variant is likely to be priced around Euro 649.
Nubia isn't the first company to have come up with a wearable smartphone. In 2016, Lenovo has displayed a bendable phone that could be worn like a smartwatch. Even TCL is working on a foldable phone that curves into a smartwatch.