TCL’s Foldable Smartphone Will Be Sold For Only $1,000, Half The Price Of Samsung’s One

Jyotis - Feb 25, 2019


TCL’s Foldable Smartphone Will Be Sold For Only $1,000, Half The Price Of Samsung’s One

However, all of these companies haven’t offered a foldable at a reasonable price but TCL. Up to now, TCL’s foldable phone has still been the most affordable option.

At Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC) on February 24, TCL showed off its first foldable smartphone prototype that is designed with a 7.2-inch screen. As such, TCL’s latest handset has the same dimension with the Galaxy Fold by Samsung and similar to the Fold, the prototype can’t now be untouchable or even in contact with humans’ breath.

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According to a reporter from The Verge, he had a chance to lift the glass protecting the TCL prototype to watch it in the closer distance, which made him rather surprised. However, the company hasn’t yet shown what the foldable smartphone will look like when being unfolded or folded.

As one of the world-class electronics brands, TCL isn’t only famous for manufacturing display panels but it also collaborates with all kinds of manufacturers that specialize in consumer products. Besides, the company focuses on designing and selling devices under its subsidiaries, such as BlackBerry, Palm, or Alcatel. As per the prototype showcase at the MWC, in addition to show its new-generation OLED display, TCL has boasted the foldable phone design’s future via its patented construction of DragonHinge.

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One of the first images of TCL's foldable smartphone prototype taken by The Verge.

According to The Verge’s reporter, the company let him look at the metal structure inside the DragonHinge that makes use of many small gears to work; however, he wasn’t allowed to take photos. On the way to develop foldable products, almost all of the tech companies will have to experience the same journey: find out how to protect the smartphone’s fragile display and ensure the display is suitable for daily use.

Different from Mate X by Huawei, the 7.2-inch foldable smartphone is designed with a foldable mechanism called DragonHinge. However, TCL’s device only enables users to fold it inside, leading to an existing big gap at its hinge side when they close it. That means the smartphone won’t be able to fold 100% flat or you will get a dead screen or a crease or both of these situations. But anyhow, TCL has shown its clear success in designing the prototype. As a piece of evidence, designers put magnets at both sides of the device to secure it when being closed or being suddenly open during its operation.

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Moreover, its exterior design is supposed to get inspiration from Moleskine notebooks’ matte surface. Such the hinge design is also a guarantee from TCL to its users about a foldable smartphone that meets two major factors including enough flexibility and enough thickness level.

In reality, those who participate in the MWC 2019 has just looked at TCL’s prototype because even the company’s own staff was required not to touch it. In other words, the device has just been under initial development. When being at the fullest extension, how flat can the device be is now a question without an answer. Can it offer the experience with the resolution of 2048 x 1546 to its users, like other regular tablets?

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There is a big gap when users fold the smartphone.

In addition to the inward-folding smartphone, TCL also introduced a lot of other products to the Mobile World Congress 2019. Of course, all of these inventions are prototypes and watchers aren’t allowed to take photographs. The first product is a super elongated smartphone that can be used as a bracelet wrapping around users’ wrist, meanwhile, the second one, similar to a bangle, features an inflexible U shape and is destined for owners’ wrist. As cited by The Verge reporter, the company also revealed that the screen is not a real challenge because it sports a slighter curve and doesn’t face some common folding issues in other foldable smartphones. TCL added that the major challenge hails from the battery.

TCL’s foldable device seems to have a similar exterior design to any regular smartphones. The different point is users can fold it outwards to form a relatively flat surface. In the beginning, we can somewhat remember a traditional smartphone model; however, we will realize that each of the foldable smartphones is a representative for the future of the phone world. Besides that, for inward-folding smartphones, a hinge radius will have to be larger if manufacturers don’t want their products to have a crease as mentioned above. At present, tech companies in the whole world have been entering a new war to consider what are the advantages and disadvantages of the foldable devices, for example: an inward-folding unit is higher appreciated for the ability to protect the screen, as well as brings experience similar to when we are reading a traditional paper book. An outward-folding unit, on the other hand, will feature a smoother, flatter, and more eye-catching design.

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The exterior design of TCL's prototype.

As expected, TCL may introduce the official foldable smartphone prototype with the 7.2-inch display or something like that on the mid-2020. Consider the three subsidiaries of this company, BlackBerry is said to be too conservative to offer this kind of smartphone, Alcatel hasn’t focused on the high-end market. That means the Palm may be the last choice to release a foldable device that combines the latest and craziest technology with something retro. Anyhow, TCL’s products are always considered as the more economical versions of Samsung’s ones. The company is also confident it will democratize the foldable world.

Also in the interview with The Verge reporter, the TCL executives revealed that the company plans to sell its foldable smartphones under the US $1,000. In other words, TCL’s foldables will come to the market at half the price of the Galaxy Fold by Samsung. The Fold is now available for the US $1,980.

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The Mobile World Congress of this year will focus more on a series of foldable smartphone prototypes, concepts, as well as some retail products from many big tech companies such as Samsung, Huawei and the like. However, all of these companies haven’t offered a foldable at a reasonable price but TCL. Up to now, TCL’s foldable phone has still been the most affordable option. In the coming times, we may witness a lot of new development concerning foldable technology, but whether we can afford to own one of those smartphones may be another story.

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