While Motorola and Samsung continue struggling to deliver a foldable phone with a screen that doesn’t scratch, crack, or separate from the phone’s body easily, it looks like TCL may have an alternatives to foldables — rollables.
According to CNET, which obtained a set of images of a TCL concept phone with a roll-out display, the Chinese electronics company had planned to showcase the device at Mobile World Congress next week… until the show was cancelled.
So here’s the idea — at first glance, the device looks like a typical smartphone. There’s a large screen covering most of the front of the phone (with a hole punch cut-out for the front-facing cameras), and on the back there are four cameras.
But you can pull out the side of the phone to expand the screen and transform the mobile device into a tablet-sized gadget.
As CNET notes, this sort of design could theoretically do away with the crease found in recent foldables, and could perhaps lead to a sturdier design. But so far we’ve only seen rendered images and not real-world pictures. So it’s a bit early to say whether TCL’s concept device offers any actual advantages over foldables.
For now it’s not even clear that the device shown in the pictures really exists — or if it does, that it means TCL has any plans to bring such a device to market. But given the fragility of all foldable-screen devices to hit the streets so far, I’m going to remain skeptical about the durability of any rollable gadgets for the time being.