The folding phone market is heating up, and while smartphone manufacturer TCL has shown off concepts for some of its potential foldables, the company has yet to announce a concrete product. That isn't changing, but TCL today unveiled two new form factors it's exploring: a phone with a pull-out display, and one with a tri-fold design.

The pull-out phone concept was already leaked last month, but TCL is sharing a few more details today. The company is calling it "the world’s very first rollable extendable smartphone concept," with a thickness of 9mm and an AMOLED screen that extends from 6.75 inches to 7.8 inches. "When not in use, a motor-driven sliding panel utilizes advanced mechanics to conceal the flexible display," TCL said.

TCL promises there are no visible creases or wrinkles in the screen, but we've heard that claim before from other folding phones, and all of them have at least a minor crease where the screen folds. We'll believe it when we see it... or don't see it?

The company is also cooking up a tri-fold smartphone. In its folded shape, the screen is 6.65 inches in a 20.8:9 aspect ratio, but expands to 10 inches when fully unfolded.

"This is the first large screen tablet to leverage dual hinges and folds to achieve this type of product design," TCL said, "ensuring smooth folding inward and outward with a minimal gap, and features a multidimensional shine with a 3D holographic finish."

TCL says these are merely concept phones, so while it's possible these may never see the light of day, I don't think the company would release renders and detailed information about devices it had no intention of turning into finished products. We'll probably see these phones at some point in the future — and likely at high prices.

Press Release

TCL Highlights Latest Advancements in Foldable and Flexible Mobile Display Technology
HONG KONG – 5 March 2020 – TCL Communication is showcasing the company’s latest mobile display innovations with the world’s first rollable extendable display smartphone concept in addition to its tri- fold tablet concept. Both products are the newest dynamic flexible display concepts revealed by TCL, and are part of the company’s extensive development program leveraging TCL’s display manufacturing expertise, along with TCL-CSOT, which now includes more than three dozen different product designs.
“With these latest concept devices, TCL has clearly shown that there is still plenty of room for new ideas when it comes to flexible and foldable display technologies, and it’s critical for us to think outside the box and lead with innovation,” said Shane Lee, General Manager, Global Product Center at TCL Communication. “These new form factors leverage display and hinge technologies that already exist entirely within our fully integrated TCL ecosystem, allowing us to reimagine the future of mobile device development with an aggressive research and development program.”
Beyond foldable devices, TCL has identified new ways to take advantage of flexible AMOLED display technology with the development of the world’s very first rollable extendable smartphone concept. At just 9mm in thickness, this portable concept re-imagines the standard smartphone design, with a rollable AMOLED display that uses internal motors to extend the 6.75-inch screen to a 7.8-inch display size with the press of a button. This allows for an entirely new device user experience that includes split screen and multi-tasking UI enhancements customized by TCL. Thanks to a larger axis and rolled display, the device has no wrinkles or creases which are commonly found with foldable AMOLEDs. When not in use, a motor-driven sliding panel utilizes advanced mechanics to conceal the flexible display. No pricing or availability details for TCL’s rollable extendable display smartphone concept are being announced at this time.
While much of the development around foldables has been focused on smartphones, TCL also believes this technology can be leveraged for an even larger screen experience, which is why the company has introduced its tri-fold tablet concept, spearheading a new product category in development. This working prototype uses both of the company’s hinge technologies - DragonHinge and ButterflyHinge - to fold a 10-inch tablet into a 6.65-inch device with 20.8:9 aspect ratio and 3K display resolution. This is the first large screen tablet to leverage dual hinges and folds to achieve this type of product design, ensuring smooth folding inward and outward with a minimal gap, and features a multidimensional shine with a 3D holographic finish. At this time there are no pricing or availability details for TCL’s tri- fold tablet concept.
For more information on TCL mobile devices, please visit: http://www.tcl.com/global/en.html