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MWC19 | TLC's folding prototypes make it to MWC

One of TCL's devices at MWC. (Source: TCL)
One of TCL's devices at MWC. (Source: TCL)
TCL is one of a handful of companies to bring foldable technology prototypes to this year's MWC. Interestingly, this company's demo models include form-factors besides phone/tablets. However, their presentation was a little low on detail.

TCL has come to MWC19 to confirm its place on the emerging foldables stage. It has brought a number of prototypes to show at the conference. They include the phone that opens to reveal a tablet-sized screen that is almost obligatory at this stage. However, the company also has a phone that folds in on itself.

TCL says that its foldables will be collapsible thanks to the company's Dragon Hinge technology. However, while we can clearly see that its 'tablet' device can bend in the middle, it was never shown to fold completely flat. A second prototype with more of a traditional 'phone' form-factor was displayed in a mode in which one edge met with a point on the screen about a fifth away from the other. However, again, the hinge allowed for limited flexibility, meaning that the phone curved over considerably at that juncture.

Unfortunately, visitors to TCL's MWC19 installation were not allowed to handle or manipulate the prototypes. However, we do know that the final product based on these demo models may have foldable AMOLED panels made especially for TCL by its subsidiary China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT). The eventual TCL foldables may also be generous in terms of other specs: the foldable tablet and phone on display had 4 and 3 rear camera modules respectively.

TCL has stated that it plans to bring out its first foldable consumer-grade devices in 2020. Until then, we may be able to develop our expectations of them through the lens of other similar phones such as the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Some more snaps of the TCL foldable prototypes. (Source: TCL)
Some more snaps of the TCL foldable prototypes. (Source: TCL)


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-02-25 (Update: 2019-02-25)