TCL is working on a foldable and roll-up hybrid phone that combines two of the biggest trends in smartphone design at the moment. The company – which makes its own monitors, and which started promoting its own brand for Android devices in early 2020 – has been working on foldable and flexible OLED panels for some time, although this new device concept brings them together in an environment have not yet seen ways.
About twelve months ago, TCL revealed some of the prototype designs it was developing. This included a folding tablet – which had two hinges and collapsed like an accordion to move from a sturdy phone to a relatively large slate – as well as a sliding device with a roll-up screen that unfolded laterally.
Design concepts were, TCL said at the time, experiments in format and screen technology. They were also just a sample of the roughly three dozen they worked for, company executives confirmed. At CES 2021, an even more polished version of the rollable design was unveiled, along with a larger, tablet-sized version that turned into something more like a small TV.
Now, new sketches and renderings from another iteration of what TCL is working on have emerged. The device – due to be officially unveiled in April, says CNET – combines a foldable TCL DragonHinge and a scrollable screen. As a result, it could offer a large tablet experience without the excessively thick shape of the company’s previous double-fold prototype.
There is no way to say whether TCL really intends to put this project into production soon or if it is being seen as another opportunity to showcase the company’s screen-making technology. So far, TCL-branded Android phones that have really hit the market have been far more popular than their concepts and renderings. The TCL 20 Series announced at CES 2021, for example, should go on sale for less than $ 300.
These phones – and details about their availability in particular – are also sharing the spotlight at TCL’s supposed April 2021 event.
In contrast, a foldable and roll-up phone would undoubtedly be considerably more expensive. Although TCL did not launch such a device commercially, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 – its second generation phone / tablet – still reaches a price of $ 1,800, a small reduction compared to its $ 2,000 launch.
Samsung is also working on something more attractive in folding for 2021. The South Korean giant is developing a foldable phone that could also be unveiled later this year, with two hinges allowing for an even bigger screen when fully open. At the same time, it is believed to be working on more accessible versions, seeing the foldable OLED as the key to accelerating a new round of updates in the smartphone space.