TCL’s rollable smartphone is the folding phone we all need right now

TCL’s folding phone concepts are excellent but they may never happen

TCL's Rollable Smartphone concept

TCL just took the wraps off of some folding phone concepts that all look extremely promising. But what is especially impressive is that two out of three of the concept devices are like nothing we’ve seen so far from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Dell, or Motorola.

First, let’s start with what we think is TCL’s most promising concept – the Rollable Smartphone. This concept folding phone features a flexible AMOLED display that rolls out so that the phone’s 6.75-inch screen extends to become a 7.8-inch display. When not in use, its motor-driven sliding panel is able to conceal the flexible display. The concept device that we got to play with did not have an actual working display, but we were able to play with its mechanism. Ultimately we think that this concept has the most mainstream appeal because it effectively improves on the most familiar smartphone form factor.

TCL’s tri-fold tablet concept

Next up is TCL’s tri-fold tablet concept. The form factor for this one is very similar to the Galaxy Fold but with even more display real estate. Specifically, it’s a 10-inch tablet that folds in two places. To that effect, it uses TCL’s DragonHinge and ButterflyHinge technology to fold into a 6.65-inch device with a 20.8:9 aspect ratio and a 3K display resolution. The concept model that we played with did indeed have a working display, but when folded, the device was too bulky for most pockets and also pretty heavy, which is why we think this concept would be a hard sell in the real world.

TCL’s wallet concept

Last but not least, TCL also showed us their wallet concept. The company previously showed this one off back at CES, is it’s not quite new. Regardless, we’re impressed with the fact that it has virtually no gap when closed. And while we don’t foresee people using it that much for phone calls, we can see this concept device appealing especially to gamers.

The most disappointing aspect about all of these three concept folding phones is that TCL has no ETA for when and if, any of these foldable phones will come to market. And given the manufacturing slowdowns caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in China, at this rate, the production of these devices could be pushed off as far into 2021.