TCL admits to developing, and cancelling, a clamshell foldable that would have undercut the Galaxy Z Flip series
TCL has teased folding smartphones for a while now, whether that be the Fold 'n Roll or its Z1 Dual-Fold Flexible Screen. Now, the company has opened up about Chicago, a clamshell smartphone that it had intended to release. As Stefan Streit, TCL's Chief Marketing Officer, explained to CNET:
We could finish this product and bring it to the market, but this felt somehow … not right. For us, this category is really, really important. We will bring products. We will bring a number of products.
Nonetheless, it has provided prototype units to CNET and MrMobile, among others. As they both describe, Chicago has a 6.67-inch display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Incidentally, TCL used a plastic display, rather than one with ultra-thin glass (UTG) as Samsung does.
Chicago also relies on a Snapdragon 765G, like the Moto Razr 5G, along with 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a 3,545 mAh battery. According to CNET, Chicago has a 48 MP primary camera, a 16 MP ultra-wide and a 44 MP front-facing sensor. MrMobile notes that the prototype's software is so underdeveloped that most camera features would not work, though.
TCL had aimed to market Chicago for approximately US$800, much cheaper than the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3. The creation of marketing renders implies that TCL came close to releasing Chicago, reputedly setting a Q4 2021 launch date. Unfortunately, TCL will not bring a foldable smartphone to market for another 12 to 18 months.