With its Flexy Phone Concepts, TCL Is Playing the Long Game

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

In just the last week, we’ve seen two incredibly impressive bendy phones in the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X. But they won’t be the last, as evidenced by TCL’s own bendy phone concepts shown off at MWC.

However, TLC was careful to say that these devices are just prototypes for now, as the company doesn’t intend to actually bring a bendy phone to market until mid-2020. TCL says there are two big reasons for that: the first is that while the TCL does have the tech, they want it to mature further before bringing it out. The second is that with current pricing for bendy phones hovering around $2,000 to $2,700, bendy phones are simply too expensive for most people to actually consider buying

Think of all the possibilities.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

That doesn’t mean TCL isn’t trying, and at Mobile World Congress 2019, the company is demoing what it calls a DragonHinge (weird hinge names appears to be trend related to bendy phones). The hinge appears similar to what Royole used on the FlexPai, and features a set of ribbed, interlocking joints that support TCL’s inward folding flexible display. Right now, TCL’s 7.2-inch bendy screen offers a 2,048 by 1,536 resolution, but that, like a lot of other specifics could change by the time TCL is ready to make a flexible phone for real.

Ok, so by this point, I think I know what you’re thinking: What the hell is the deal with that gap when the phone’s closed? It’s freaking huge, and from my vantage point on the outside of a big protective Lexan box, it appears even bigger than what you’d see on a Microsoft Surface Book. But TCL knows this, which, again, is one reason why the company says it is waiting to release a bendable device rather than pushing something janky out right now.

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