TCL is looking at giving the foldable smartphone idea a new twist. The Chinese company is reportedly working on a phone that has a slide-out display. Instead of a display that bends like the Galaxy Fold or the Moto Razr, the display here slides out. It means we are looking at a traditional smartphone form factor that can transition to tablet form factor. This could result in a thicker design but one that will avoid the hurdles seen by foldable form factor.
Foldables are no longer a new or novel concept in the smartphone world. Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have shown the early designs possible with the form factor. The biggest advantage of a foldable smartphone is the compact design that transforms into a bigger display. However, they have run into multiple problems. The Galaxy Fold had issues that forced Samsung to delay its availability last year. The Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr have their own hinge and display problems. TCL‘s design might be both practical and without any major manufacturing issues.
The images obtained by CNET show a design unlike anything we have seen before. The report notes that this is the device TCL planned to show media at its MWC 2020 event. The photos suggest that the TCL smartphone uses one continuous display with curved screens on either side. The additional screen seems to be tucked underneath the main display. It can be pulled out from the center of the right edge of the device. It is both conventional and futuristic at the same time.
It is still not clear how this mechanism works from the inside of the device. There is a possibility that TCL is using its bendable display technology. Here, the secondary screen seems to be wrapped around the main display. The back side of the device seems to show the expanded portion with its own non glass backing. The best part of this design is that it ends up looking similar to the Galaxy Fold when unfolded. The design might also help with using a more efficient battery design.
The big question is what kind of display TCL is using with this device. If we have to venture a guess then we would be plastic like the Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X and Motorola Razr. The ambitions of TCL should be commended here. It is not following its rivals and introducing something different. We still don’t know when TCL will make this device official. The company has shown foldable designs in the past including a trifold model. With MWC standing canceled, we could see this device become official sooner than later.