TCL is perhaps thinking beyond what the existing commercial foldable devices of Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola offer. The triple folding phone, a rollable display that slides in and out, and a book like foldable device that also mimics a wallet, all showed off by TCL to convince us what the future of the smartphones is going to be.
Initially shown in CES 2020, the triple folding phone was just a non-functional unit, but a few months later, TCL has brought a functional prototype, which is one of the dozen designs the Chinese maker is working on at this moment.
The triple fold display uses dragonfly hinge and butterfly hinge technology that is a 6.65 inches device in a folded position, but when opened out, it transforms into a 10 inches tablet, even bigger than 9.7 inch iPad. In a fully folded position, it looks like a stack of three phones, apparently heavier in looks and feels than Nokia 9000 communicator. One of the biggest reasons is the three separate bars of batteries dedicated to each screen.
Metal hinges and three screens make it probably the heaviest smartphone device today, and it might not be an easier gadget to carry like we usually do with our smartphones.
The second one, rolling display, is perhaps more exciting but weird at the same time. TCL has only showcased a nonfunctional dummy fitted with a paper sheet instead of a real device that mimics the functioning of the real prototype back in the lab in China, as the company says.
Mere from the video, its working looks more challenging than triple folding phone since it relies on the flexible display that rolls and unrolls with the help of a motor. With the press of a button, the motor inside pushes out the ‘hidden half’ of the phone the slides out along with the AMOLED screen and becomes a bigger 7.8-inch mini tablet from a 6.75-inch smartphone. An array of cameras can also be seen on the backside vertically aligned on cylinder – the part where all magic happens.
TCL says it is even harder to accommodate a battery in this prototype since folding batteries are not here yet.
TCL hasn’t yet talked about the timeline of the finished product since there are similar challenges on the software front for the folding devices. Android 10 is the latest iteration in the Galaxy folding devices, but the apps aren’t available for flexible displays of this nature yet, which is the primary yardstick for the readiness of the market.
TCL, however, expects the year 2021 would be more stable for such devices, and indeed, just like the prices of their other home appliances, we are also going to see very affordable prices for the folding phones as well.
Image source: slashgear