It’s the early days of foldable phones, no one really knows what the winning form factor and use case will be. At not-MWC TCL showed off some foldable phone concepts that are a few years out, but very interesting and has finally got me excited about a future with foldable phones!
The tri-fold concept goes from a 6.65inch foldable phone to a 10 inch tablet. It has two different hinges, one called a Dragon hinge and a Butterfly Hinge. They fold in opposite directions.
This allows the phone to transform into a huge variety of positions. If you don’t need all that room, you can fold one-third of the screen into a kickstand. Or if space is limited like on a crowded subway train, you can use one side as a grip and still have plenty of screen real-estate leftover.
Granted, there are a lot of downsides to the tri-fold’s current design. It’s heavy, its hinge is quite stiff while still managing to feel somewhat unstable. When it’s collapsed down to its smallest phone-shaped size, it’s super thick! But it’s a concept we won’t see for a few years, so they’ve got time to work out the kinks.
TCL Rollable Concept
Instead of bending the rollable concept phone slides open, it’s just a mockup and doesn’t have a working display. It’s probably the most ambitious flexible display phone concept i’ve seen, keeping dust and dirt out of the rolling mechanism will be a tough problem to solve.
TCL says will use mechanical pushrods to expand the display from 6.75 inches to 7.8 inches whenever you want using a simple gesture. And unlike the tri-fold device, this thing measures 9mm thick, so it’s barely thicker than a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. And when its screen isn’t fully deployed, the screen rolls back up inside part of the phone’s body, which makes the whole thing way less bulky than a lot of other foldables.
The most exciting part about all of this is that TCL’s concept phones are just three of more than 30 or so foldable concepts the company claims it has in development.
TCL also has a legacy of creating mid range phones that are affordable. In a few years the prices will come down across the board, but what we have here might just be a concept that could roll out to the masses.