TCL to Release 5 Foldable Gadgets in 2020


Foldable smartphones are now the mobile industry's new trend that will surely excite the crowd all over again. Mobile companies are on the race in releasing their own foldable phones this year.

Several companies have by now released their prototypes of foldable smartphones, others have revealed their foldable gadgets at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain a couple of days ago. TCL is joining the race of foldable smartphones.

Chinese tech manufacturer TCL, known for its affordable televisions and phones under
the license of BlackBerry and Alcatel, is working on foldable devices to be released in 2020.

CNET obtained patent images and exposed that TCL is releasing not just one but five foldable gadget that includes two tablets, two smartphones and one that could turn into a smartwatch. One tablet folds vertically inward and the other, similar to the Royale Flexpai, has a display that folds outward. The one smartphone variant folds horizontally inward like a flip phone and the other one creases horizontally outward.

TCL’s smartwatch appears to be tall and skinny that cuffs the user’s wrist. However, the smartphone concept with bendable edges which could be a convertible smartwatch was not originally TCL’s idea. Lenovo demonstrated its prototype of a foldable phone that folds around 80-degree angle and snap to a user’s wrist in 2016. But there were setbacks on Lenovo’s smartphone as a couple of dark spots on the edges appeared over time. None of the TCL’s models were similar to Samsungs’s foldable phones.

The leaked patent images were still exploratory; TCL could slip or alter its plans. It is also not certain if the foldable gadget trend could be a major breakthrough and hit the market.

In an interview with CES, TCL’s general manager of global marketing, Stefan Streit, stressed that “It is not just smartphones” in his statement. He expounded that even TV’s, home appliances and wearable could benefit from this new technology. TCL wants to build its name by riding the bandwagon and create its own series of foldable smartphones.

Technology is getting better every day. First, all-screen displays started showing up followed by a curved screen. Now, the curved displays are now becoming a thing of the past as the new foldable smartphones unfold its way in.
 
What is a foldable phone?

Samsung defined a foldable phone as a device with a cellular connection that looks like a usual phone when closed and looks like a tablet when it is fully opened. It has a flexible display, an electronic visual display that is flexible in nature unlike the traditional flat screen display in most e-devices.

TCL's foldable gadget concepts, however, fold outwards and inwards, vertically and horizontally. Samsung's prototype closes inward like a book while Royole's Flexpai has an outward-folding screen. Xiaomi’s approaching phone bends on both edges.
 
Is it new?

Although these foldable devices may seem new for many, this sort of phone has been there for years now.

Technically, the Royole Flexpai is the only foldable smartphone that you can actually buy at the moment. The foldable phone has a 7.8-inch screen, has with two cameras, a Snapdragon processor, and special software too. The Royole Company is an expert in flexible screen technology, which has enabled it to get a head start over much larger firms. The current product still feels like an exciting prototype and can be purchased around $1,300 online.

ZTM already launched Axon M with a foldable screen. Since then, phone companies including Samsung, ZTE, Motorola and LG, and Xiaomi teased the market with their own folding smartphones. 

Samsung is launching its folding phone today, February 20, which opens and closes like a book to transform from a smartphone into a tablet.

Why need one?

  • Flexible form factor
    With the innovation of flexible phones, a tablet-sized display could fold into the size of a
    typical smartphone that will give more mobility and convenience. Plus, it perfectly fits in
    your pocket.

  • Bigger workspace
    The major reason to switch on foldable phones is that your traditional smartphone and
    laptop does not offer enough screen space to play with. The folding smartphones will
    solve this problem. The user will be able to open and edit and a document on one part
    of the screen and the keyboard and tool on the other half. It helps increase productivity. 

    A larger display offers the user an extended viewing surface, but it also unravels different ways that you can use your device.
    Thanks to Google's official Android support for all foldable phones, foldable phones
    could replace tablets. Tablets have been a valuable productivity tool, especially for
    users who are always on the go. Having a tablet-sized screen on your smartphone and
    the ability to run 3 apps at once can unlock an extraordinary level of productivity to the
    user.

    Foldable phones can market as business smartphones given their ability to multitask.
    Definitely, the customers are willing to invest in business phones like Samsung Note 9.
    Expect foldable phones to be a bit pricier but it will also have more to offer in the
    market.

  • Less prone to breaking
    Folding displays must be flexible in nature. If the display withstands bending without
    cracking, it should also not withstand falls without breaking.
    For a display to be able to fold, the touchscreen should be made up of flexible materials
    that can absorb forces without breaking. It will only flex.
    For the screen to flex, instead of glass, the touchscreen should be covered with plastic
    knowing. Plastic is durable enough to withstand scratches and bendable enough to
    be folded. This will give justice to the expected hefty price of this foldable phone.

  • Extra space for hardware
    The bigger the phone gets the more room for hardware. Manufacturers can pack in bigger batteries and powerful processors that need even cooling into a foldable smartphone easily.

What are the disadvantages of a foldable smartphone?

  • Price
    As the complexity of the smartphone increases, manufacturers will be putting more
    efforts to build a folding smartphone. Undoubtedly, the price will stay high for the first
    few generations. Foldables will be expensive as Royole’s foldable phone will start at
    $1,469 while Samsung Galaxy F will cost more than $1,700.

    This may turn out as a major concern for potential buyers. Consumers will have great
    expectations for the product with its great price. The foldable smartphone should give
    satisfaction to the consumer and it should be worth its price.

  • Heavy smartphone
    A bigger battery and additional hardware are needed as a smartphone's display size
    increases. This will make the foldable smartphones thicker and heavier than traditional
    smartphones. Thin and small bezels will need a paper-thin battery that would
    require the manufacturing process to be upgraded thus will increase the cost of the
    product.

  • Performance
    First generation devices are always buggy. With the début of the foldable smartphone's
    hardware and software, performance is still questionable. It needs to overcome many
    hardware problems and challenges the software.

    The main area of concern is the phone’s touchscreen.  The crease is the most critical
    aspect of the design. Will touches register in that area? Will it be able to withstand the
    force that comes with the folding actions?

    The software is debuting too. Google has announced its support for foldables with
    exclusive features. New software features are often buggy. Will Google be able to fix
    the bug before the distribution?
     

Wrapping things up
The first to fold wins as the smartphone industry is currently in a poker game. Phones
with flexible and foldable displays are on the way. A foldable era is about to begin.
More companies will probably join the game and unveil their own design to the public for
the following months to come. The foldable smartphones are igniting innovation in the
industry once more.

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