TCL is working on a phone that slides open into a tablet
Cramming a tablet-sized screen into something that can fit in your pocket is a dream people have had for years. Only recently with the introduction of truly foldable displays has the dream become more real. Companies are still working on alternatives, though, and TCL is approaching the situation with a slider.
Leaked renders of a TCL prototype show a phone that can expand into a tablet with a sliding mechanism. The phone looks to be a pretty normal smartphone when it’s not expanded. The display appears to curve around the edges very heavily. The right side of the phone, including the dual punch-hole, can be pulled out to reveal a larger display that was tucked under the “main” display.
According to CNET, this TCL prototype is indeed using one single flexible display. So this is not a case of a separate display sliding out and a considerable gap or ridge separating the two halves. We have no idea how the mechanism actually works, but the display must be folded and tucked away somehow.
This is a design that we’ve never seen before. There have been many slider phones, of course, but never have both halves featured a display. Whether it’s one foldable display or two separate displays, it seems there’s always a hinge involved. While interesting, this design does seem to pose several problems.
A display that must fold onto itself so sharply would be bad for longevity, especially if it requires multiple folds to tuck away. That also means we’re likely dealing with creases as well. If the display isn’t folding completely flat onto itself, like the Motorola Razr, that means the phone could be pretty thick to accommodate it. TCL was apparently planning to reveal this device at MWC, but the event was canceled last week. We’re not sure when the company will decide to show it off. What do you think of this foldable design? Is it better than a hinge?