A new smart clothing line promises to help you get your yoga moves right when you’re at home and without an instructor. It’s called Pivot Yoga and it claims to give feedback through small sensors on the clothes that can tell you whether you’re in the right position.
“We know how hard it is to learn yoga, how much yogis want to improve, and how many yogis want to practice at home,” Joe Chamdani, who’s the CEO and co-founder of TuringSense, the developer behind Pivot Yoga, said in a press release.
The Pivot Yoga clothes are supposed to “look, feel, breathe, wash, and perform” like regular yoga clothes, but also maintain a wireless connection to the company’s mobile app. You can take online yoga classes through the app and the sensors will insert a “live avatar” of your body into the video so you can easily compare your movements with the teacher’s.
The app has voice control capabilities so you’re supposed to be able to tell it to pause and start again. The app will say, “Garments detected,” and then you can command it to start by saying, “Begin.” You address the smartphone’s voice assistant by saying, “Pivot, how’s this look?” and the assistant will respond to correct your posture with lines like, “Move your right knee six inches.” You can also cast the app to an Apple TV, any compatible Chromecast device, a Samsung TV from 2013 or newer, or connect it directly via HDMI.
While the premise of the app and clothes sounds like it’d be a huge boon to yogis, it’s difficult to see how the sensors are able to give accurate readings of a body’s movements while the body is in motion. Pivot tells The Verge, “It’s a big challenge, since every yogi’s body is different, and a good question. We’ve designed the clothes so that sensor movement is relatively rare. And we’re designing the clothes and the entire system so that any remaining sensor movement is handled automatically.”
That seems to imply the clothes stay relatively still while a person is moving, which might not be the most comfortable fit, and definitely means that Pivot is constrained from offering a wide variety of sizes. (Indeed, the clothes are available in XS to XL, but there’s no sizing chart to indicate the precise ranges these sizes run.)
The clothes charge by Micro USB and run on 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. They’re made of aluminum, leather, fabric, and plastic. There’s a non-replaceable battery that gives roughly five hours of continuous use, according to Pivot. You’re able to machine wash the clothes in cold water, but you cannot put them in the dryer.
Pivot costs $99 for the top and pants, and the online videos cost $19 per month. The app is only available on iOS 11 or higher for iPhone 7 and up, although the company says an Android version is “expected later.” Preorders are now available, and they’re currently only open to residents in the US and Canada. Pivot tells The Verge the clothes can be expected to ship in spring 2019.
Samsung took the wraps off its new Infinity Flex Display device this morning, the first foldable hybrid gadget from the company that transforms from a phone into a tablet. Samsung says it plans to go into mass production for just the display in the “matter of months,” but we don’t really know much of anything about it beyond the brief glimpse we got onstage today. It’s a total mystery what it will cost, and we know very little about how the software will really function and just how many different display orientations it supports.
At a session this afternoon at its developer conference, Samsung did reveal some new information about the planned device, including pixel density, screen size, and aspect ratio in both the folded and unfolded modes, as reported by CNET’s Shara Tibken:
— Shara Tibken (@sharatibken) November 7, 2018
Pixel density is a standard 420 ppi, which is not the highest out there, but perfectly fine. Resolution when folded is 840 x 1960, but 1536 x 2152 when unfolded. The aspect ratios, however, are the more interesting specs here. The folded, phone version of the Infinity Flex has a 4.58-inch display with an aspect ratio of 21:9, which would make it pretty much the tallest device on the market and probably not the greatest screen for game-playing, video viewing, or anything like that. The unfolded, tablet version is clearly the primary mode for those types of activities, as it has a more standard 4.2:3 aspect ratio and a screen size of 7.3 inches.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how this device is going to work, and how many iterations it might take for Samsung and other phone makers to really nail this form factor. (My guess is it will take a lot.) Thankfully, Google announced Android support for “foldables,” as we’re calling them, earlier this morning in conjunction with Samsung’s big reveal, so the initial software support is already there and it will only continue to get more robust over time.
In fact, news aggregation app Flipboard has already signed on to develop a special version of its app that modifies itself depending on which mode the Infinity Flex is running in:
.@Flipboard is working on an app for @Samsung’s new foldable phone. When closed, you’d see a single pane of info. When you unfold the phone, you get a bigger panel (right where you left off on the closed display) and multiwindows #SDC18 pic.twitter.com/08PiAUvY3I
— Shara Tibken (@sharatibken) November 7, 2018
Flipboard certainly won’t be the only developer to sign on. Considering Samsung is launching a new, three-app multitasking feature it’s calling Multi Active Window, it’s likely at least some other big-name developers will jump at the chance to create responsive and modular versions of their mobile apps to be among first to capitalize on the foldable trend.
Foldable phones are coming, there’s no doubt about that. Samsung, LG, and Huawei are among those who’ve set out their intentions to launch bendable handsets within the next year, but they’ve all apparently been beaten to the line by the Royole FlexPai.
Whereas last year’s ZTE Axon M stuck two displays together with a hinge, the FlexPai screen really does fold over – it’s a tablet one moment and a phone the next. The Chinese manufacturer behind the device says it can be folded open and shut more than 200,000 times before breaking.
When folded, you actually get three screens on the FlexPai: one on the front, one on the back, and one down the side of the device (across the fold) to show notifications, messages and more.
So how has this little-known firm beaten the big names to market? Based on demo videos, this looks very much like a prototype device, and not something Samsung or LG would officially push out into the world. Indeed the FlexPai is being sold as a “Developer Model” for now, indicating it’s not yet fit for the public at large.
Royole is also charging a hefty sum for the technology – prices start at US$1,318 for the cheapest model – and delivery isn’t scheduled until “late December.” This is very much for early adopters only.
Nevertheless, it gives us a glimpse of what’s coming down the line in 2019. The FlexPai features a 7.8-inch, 1,920 x 1,440 resolution OLED screen (308 pixels-per-inch) when fully opened out, 6GB or 8 GB of RAM, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 processor (likely to appear in next year’s Android flagships as the Snapdragon 855). It comes with 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB of internal storage, and has dual 20 MP + 16 MP rear cameras.
The on-board software is Royole’s own Water OS, which is based on Android 9 Pie, so plenty of apps should be available. How they’ll react to the foldable screen isn’t clear, but presumably there’ll be a switch like there is for landscape to portrait modes.
“Say goodbye to rigid surfaces,” explains the device’s sales blurb. “FlexPai will completely change your perception of a traditional mobile phone and the need to own multiple mobile devices.”
It’s worth emphasizing that this is more of a prototype than a finished product, though it is an interesting early look at how smartphones might evolve over the coming years. Look out for some of the big Android manufacturers to follow Royole’s lead in 2019, though again the technology is likely to be a little rough around the edges, and expensive.
Samsung may be just days away from taking the wraps off its very own foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid, but consumer electronics company Royole has stolen a bit of its thunder with its very own flexible display device. Called the FlexPai, the 7.8-inch hybrid device can fold 180 degrees and transform from a tablet into a phone, albeit a bulky one.
At an event in San Francisco this evening, Royole brought out a working version of the FlexPai that we actually got to hold, and the folding feature works as advertised. Granted, it feels miles away in quality from a high-end modern flagship, but it is still the first real foldable device I’ve seen in person, and not just in a concept video or prototype stage.
The FlexPai will be available as a consumer device in China with a base model price of 8,999 yuan, or around $1,300. You can also pay that amount of money in USD for a developer version if you live in North America. That gets you 128GB of storage, but you can double it for an additional $150 and add an additional 2GB of RAM for a total of 8GB.
As for the other specs, the device is going to come with a 2.8Ghz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the display resolution is 1920 x 1440 when fully expanded, and it comes with a 3,800 mAh battery. Both the consumer model and the developer version are up for preorder on Royole’s website right now. Royole says the Chinese consumer model and the developer version are slated to ship in December.
It should be said that this device is very much a first-generation product. The software seemed extremely sluggish, apps continuously opened accidentally, and the orientation kept changing randomly when one of the Royole representatives was demonstrating the folding process. That, to me, indicates that the company’s custom Water OS (a fork of Android 9.0, Royole says) is probably not the most robust operating system just yet.
Still, this is much more about the hardware innovation of making a virtually unbreakable AMOLED display, with a reasonable enough battery that can sustain the folding process. Royole says the screen can withstand being folded 200,000 times. (What happens after that was not made immediately clear.) We don’t know how it will stack up against Samsung’s version, or whatever competing display makers like LG are working on. But it certainly bodes well for the imminent foldable / flexible display trend that we’re already seeing working devices like this hit the market.