Mobile World Congress kicks off this week, and smartphone companies are planning to show off a whole bunch of new phones with slim bezels, unusual camera placements, and maybe a little 5G. Plus flexible phones are now a thing.
It looks like TCL will be showing off several different designs, including a phone that folds in half like a wallet, causing a tablet-sized display to fold in on itself. That’s one that most closely resembles Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphone, and it may have a similar secondary-display that allows you to use the device like a phone even when it’s folded.
Another prototype is an extra-long (or tall, I guess) device that folds up like an old-school flip phone. It seems sort of like the Moto Razr flexible phone design that’s been leaked… but with a huge gap near the center of the phone where the fold point is. It looks sort of like a Microsoft Surface Book when it folds… but worse.
There may be other designs as well. Rumor has it that TCL has a phone that wraps around your wrist to become a smartwatch, for instance.
According to signage shared by Blass, TCL is presenting its flexible devices as “concepts” rather than finished products. But it’s possible that the company could make use of the so-called “Dragon Hinge” in real products later this year. I suspect the decision of whether to do that has either already been made… or may hinge (get it?) on how competing devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X sell.
TCL, by the way, doesn’t typically sell phones under its own brand name. But the company produces phones that are sold under the Alcatel and BlackBerry names in the US and elsewhere.