CNET: The unbelievable $350 ESCOBAR foldable phone won’t be showing up at CES 2020

The company behind the phone, started by the brother of the infamous drug kingpin, was apparently denied booth space at the Las Vegas trade show.

escobar fold 1 shop
escobar fold 1 shop

Update, 6:12 p.m.: Adds Gustafsson’s denial that the Escobar Fold 1 is the same phone as the Royole FlexPai.

By Sean Keane

A $350 foldable phone named after late Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was unveiled last month, but we won’t be seeing the Escobar Fold 1 at CES 2020. Escobar Inc. has apparently been banned from the trade show, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas. 

With the Fold 1 considerably cheaper than the $1,500 Motorola Razr, $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and $2,400 Huawei Mate X, it seemed like an exciting CES possibility from a relatively unknown company. 

However, an email exchange seen by CNET showed that Escobar Inc. was denied booth space after the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, determined that the company was “not a good fit” for the show.

The CTA didn’t respond to a request for comment on the decision.

The company, established in 1984, is led by Roberto De Jesús Escobar Gaviria, Pablo Escobar’s brother. Escobar Inc. had wanted to occupy a small space near Samsung on the CES show floor, CEO Olof Gustafsson told CNET.

“The establishment of Samsung and the major tech companies are undermining our efforts and clearly see us as a major threat to their existence for them to outright specifically target us and our products,” Gustafsson said via email.

The Escobar Fold 1 came out of nowhere last month with a commercial showing off the shiny gold phone alongside a gaggle of bikini-clad women. Questions about the Fold 1’s legitimacy were immediately raised, given that the device has a price tag that’s a fraction of that of other foldable phones and it’s from a company with no track record of electronic products, let alone phones. 

Gizmodo points out that the phone appears to be a rebranded version of the Royole FlexPai, which was the first foldable phone made by a Chinese startup. However, we asked Gustafsson about it and he denied it’s the same phone. More


Sean Keane