TCL won’t be releasing its Galaxy Z Flip 3 competitor anytime soon
Foldable phones are all the rage these days, so it should come as no surprise that Chinese tech brand TCL is looking to join in on the craze. We’ve already seen prototypes of the company’s rollable and foldable displays, and the company announced at this year’s CES that a foldable/rollable smartphone would be launched sometime this year. Now, TCL has confirmed that it axed its plans to enter the foldable market this year and that its entry has been postponed by at least a year.
Both CNET and Michael Fisher (AKA Mr. Mobile) were sent a prototype of TCL’s clamshell foldable phone, which was poised to be a more affordable alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Motorola Razr 5G. However, the company scrapped it because of several commercial factors and also admitted that the lowest price the company could have achieved in pricing its foldable was $800. Given that TCL isn’t a particularly strong smartphone brand in the U.S., it was a tall order to launch the device in the hopes of swaying consumers based on a $200 price difference (the Galaxy Z Flip 3 retails for $1,000). Nevertheless, TCL told us that it is dedicated to launching a foldable smartphone in the future.
Stefan Streit, CMO of TCL Communication, offered the following statement:
“As one of the world’s largest display and smartphone manufacturers, TCL has spent decades developing products that deliver high-end technologies at affordable price points. In recent years, TCL has invested billions of dollars into the research and development of new and upcoming display technologies, including flexible displays and foldable smartphones.
Although the foldable market is growing each year, it is still a premium product category. In combination with recent component shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs in foldable production, TCL has made the difficult decision to suspend the launch of its first commercially available foldable smartphone until the company can produce and bring it to market at a price point that’s accessible to as many consumers as possible.
TCL remains committed to investing in flexible display technologies and is closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to launch a foldable smartphone. In the meantime, we continue to focus on our “5G for All” initiative introduced at Mobile World Congress 2021, in which we work with carriers around the world to deliver 5G solutions to all consumers across a variety of price points and product categories.”
TCL’s clamshell foldable was code-named Project Chicago, and it never got an official marketing name. It was mid-development when TCL decided to put it on hold, and TCL tells us that decision was made prior to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. The launch of Samsung’s clamshell foldable further solidified their decision, apparently. Project Chicago was equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, a 6.67-inch AMOLED Full HD resolution panel on the inside, a 3,545 mAh battery, and an outer display with dual cameras.