The name TCL is not necessarily known in Europe in the field of smartphones. While the brand was able to break into the TV world, it has a harder time establishing itself in the world of mobile telephony, despite attempts through well-known sub-brands like Alcatel, Palm or BlackBerry.
On the occasion of the Mobile World Congress, TCL presents two concepts of phones whose screen can be folded in both directions for the first, or folded and rolled up for the second. If the company has not yet marketed a folding device, it has not stopped working on its concepts.
This niche market (0.5% of the shares in 2021 according to IDC) should grow in importance in the coming years and in 2025 represent 1.8% of the shares with a strong representation (one third of the market) for high-end Android phones. Currently, Samsung dominates the industry, but other giants like Apple and Google are expected to get into the fight sooner or later.
Our colleagues at CNET.com had the opportunity to take these two original concepts into their own hands.
360-degree Ultra Flex
The first concept is a smartphone that in appearance may look like what we know from folding phones like Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Microsoft Surface Duo. The special thing about this concept is to be able to bend inwards, but also outwards.
Like the Surface Duo, it can be folded in several ways, and one can imagine a use similar to the Microsoft phone: Placed on the table like a computer or in the form of a “tent” to watch a video.
The difference is that the 8-inch AMOLED screen is continuous just like the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Although the concept is relatively thick when the phone is completely closed, our colleague noticed that the use of it fully open (like a tablet) or partially folded (like a book) seemed to fit naturally into the device. In addition, it exudes a sense of solidity that instills confidence.
Fold N ‘Roll
Open, Fold N ‘Roll is similar to classic folding phones, such as an Oppo Find N. It opens to provide a larger screen area. Only the concept does not stop there. As the name suggests, its screen can be expanded when unfolded, just like the Oppo X 2021.
At the touch of a button, the 7-inch screen rolls out to 8.8 inches. By comparison, it’s bigger than an iPad Mini, and we’re starting to get into regular tablet territory.
Despite some software flaws (which is not surprising with a prototype), the interface has nevertheless adapted well to the change in size. Another notable point, the famous central fold is barely visible. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the screen winds around the front of the phone, which, once you have mastered the software, can add a whole new user experience.
No release date yet
Particularly known for its televisions at very competitive prices, the brand has given up launching a competitor to the Galaxy Z Flip in 2021. A decision motivated by its current weak positioning in the market but also due to the rise in component prices. pandemic.
Nevertheless, this product category is a priority for the brand. In September, Stefan Streit estimated that it would take 12 to 18 months for the brand to be able to offer a product that is capable of meeting the competition that is taking place.
The company’s goal is to release a folding phone (not necessarily one of the terms discussed in this article) at a price no higher than $ 700. That would make it significantly more accessible than current competitors costing over $ 1,000.
- Find all the articles about MCW 2022 on our dedicated page.
CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance
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