TCL, the Chinese electronics giant, has disclosed a prototype of a pair of concept gadgets which is based on future generation flexible display technologies — demonstrating a potential future for mobile digital devices.
A few years ago, the Chinese electronic manufacturer was not specifically a well-known smartphone brand outside the territory of China. The Huizhou-based company, however, got the right to design and sell BlackBerry-branded phones back in 2016, although that licensing partnership will end anytime soon.
With Roku serving as a key technology partner in North America, TCL has unfolded as one of the top TV manufacturing brands there. TCL used the “white label” method to release mobile phones under the Palm and Alcatel brands, but, now as it is getting deeper into this business, it is driving every inch to expand and move beyond what it had been a couple of years ago.
In January this year, TCL, in Las Vegas, announced a trio of new devices, among which was a foldable phone and a 5G smartphone. Even though they are not yet available to buy, these are pretty much good to go.
The device yet does not have an accurate price or availability date, which leaves people guessing the details and remain the talk of the town. TCL, on the other hand, has released visuals that give a pretty good idea of how the tri-foldable phone works.
TCL’s innovation uses flexible AMOLED technology for a display that slides out, which turns the phone’s slimmer dimensions into more of a phablet-esque form, which is unique to numerous foldable that have gone to the customers.
The Ultra-Modern Look
The DragonHinge and ButterflyHinge, the two previously disclosed technologies by TCL, this new design unfolded as a 10-inch tablet and folded twice to look as a 6.65-inch phone. Having a 20.8:9 aspect ratio and 3K resolution, this design is Ulta modern for the tech-geeks.
The phone has two hinges, a part of the screen folds into the device, and the other part wraps around it. This structure can be used for various modes, regular phones when it is folded twice, a three-screen tablet, or as a two-screen laptop when you fold the device in a way that the middle and third screen is placed at any angle such that last side lays flat for you type.
The zigzag shape is created as you open and close the device with the help of two hinges. It is a silhouette in Z that looks like an accordion Or a taco holder.
The TCL phone has one front-facing camera, four rear cameras, and a USB-C charger port. However, there appears to be no jack for headphones. As no clear design is yet available, the features are being based on the other offerings in the foldable market.
The gadget, when completely folded, appears a lot like a really thick smartphone. Although from the prototype, it is yet not clear until this time, if TCL will be introducing it the way people are guessing. But when we consider its recent size and shape, it is hard to see it replacing anyone’s main mobile phone.
The Expected Price
The trifold appears to be really fragile to use, with the addition of the second hinge, the points of potential failure becomes double as compared to failure as we saw in single hinge devices. Now talking about the price, looking at the trends, and cost margin of foldable phones that are already in the market, this TCL’s new design is expected to cross $1500 mark.
Other Competitors In The Race
When it comes to smartphones Google, Apple, and others are few names that always come first to our mind. TCL, on the other hand, is not as big as those mentioned above. Huawei and Samsung are yet other reputed brands when we think of foldable phones.
The year 2019 saw the release of few foldable phones, including the Motorola Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and these were leading phones of the year. Many more devices will come up and made available in 2020, together with Huawei Mate X, which was expected to be released in 2019.
Samsung has already started the race of foldable, first with the release of Samsung Galaxy Fold and then with the launch of its Galaxy Z Flip alongside Samsung Galaxy S20. Now the battle is becoming fierce as more and more players are entering the foldable market with exciting and unique variants of foldable.
Read our comparison: Galaxy Z Flip vs Motorola Razr
Expected Release Date
There is no exact date available for customers who are eyeing this innovative product. However, some official statements from the company have indicated that this tri-fold will arrive in the first of 2021.
The idea of this particular gadget, however, shows how difficult it is going to be to change it into reality. The prototype of the Tri-fold indicates that it is going to be heavy than a normal smartphone as it contains big metal hinges and three separate batteries to power all the three displays.
Although the when fully unfolded, the tablet looks thin, whereas, the twice folded phone mode is quite thick. It looks as if you have three phones put together on top of each other. It might have the same size as a regular phone that can fit into your pocket. But, it might not be that easy and light to carry.
There is no much data available about things like the software of this concept device. The switch between tablet and phone requires dynamic software, though, and TCL making a statement on that is making a good start. However, you need really enthralling apps to work on a device like this, which can make the transition between three distinct sizes of a display with great ease.
Google is apparently functioning on making Android better adaptive to this concept devices, but much still remains to be done before it is ready for the final show.
An engineer and a tech enthusiast, driven by curiosity.