Foldable devices are undoubtedly the next big thing in both the smartphone and tablet industries, but whether the products are ready for primetime is very much up for debate at the moment.
The likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola are moving forward with releases despite noticeable durability issues with the designs. TCL Communication, on the other hand, is taking a much more cautious approach by avoiding releasing products to the public right now.
It is, nevertheless, still working very hard on the necessary technologies and today has announced some new concept devices that make use of the latest foldable and rollable displays.
The world’s first smartphone with a rollable screen
The first concept device TCL has up its sleeves, and arguably the most exciting one, is something it calls the world’s first “rollable extendable smartphone.”
It looks like any other premium flagship at first glance thanks to the presence of a large 6.75-inch curved-edge AMOLED display and a thickness of just 9mm. But where things get particularly interesting is on the inside.
Hidden between the front and rear panels are two internal motors that can be activated with the press of a button. These push one side of the smartphone outwards to reveal an entirely new portion of display that, when not in use, folds back on itself inside the device.
The resulting product features a large 7.8-inch screen and an adaptive UI with software enhancements such as split screen and multi-tasking that have been specially designed by TCL with the product in mind.
This technology arguably makes much more sense in the smartphone segment because of its compactness. It could also solve some major durability issues because the display features no crease or wrinkle, according to TCL, thanks to a larger axis when folding the panel.
While on the topic of durability, TCL told us it’s working on adding fibers on the inside to keep dust and other particles out.
There are presently no plans to release this concept smartphone to the public. But TCL will hopefully continue developing the tech and eventually launch a finished version.
A 10-inch tablet that can fold into a 6.7-inch smartphone
The second concept from TCL is designed to permanently close the gap between traditional smartphones and smaller tablets such as the 10.2-inch iPad by offering buyers the best of both worlds.
Users of the futuristic concept device gain access to a pretty large 10-inch display when completely unfolded. But unlike traditional tablets which are often a pain to carry, this particular product can be folded down into a compact smartphone-like form factor.
The unique design is made possible by incorporating both of TCL’s hinge technologies – DragonHinge and ButterflyHinge. These also ensure the process of folding the display inward and outward is as smooth as possible, according to the company, with virtually no gap.
The resulting smartphone-like product features a 6.65-inch display with a tall 20.8:9 aspect ratio and an impressive 3K resolution. To jazz up the design a little, TCL has added a multidimensional shine with a 3D holographic finish to the back of the tri-fold concept.
TCL previewed the product in question last autumn but now has a working prototype of it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it during our preview and TCL still has no plans to release it to market.