TCL today unveiled its tri-folding display device concept. This prototype device can transform from a 6.65-inch 3K AMOLED display smartphone to a 10-inch 3K AMOLED display tablet. This is a very early prototype with no software that can take advantage of the tri-folding capabilities.
Thanks to the DragonHinge and ButterflyHinge hinges, the device can be folded both inward and outward with a minimum gap. Even though the device sounds exciting, when completely folded, the device will be too thick to handle it as a regular smartphone. Imagine making a phone call with a smartphone which is about 24mm thick.
TCL first showed its triple folding phone in October last year. Back then, it had a working design but the screen did not work well. Almost six months later, TCL is showing the prototype device once again with a working screen.
TCL has unveiled two radical new takes on the foldable phone form factor. One of them is a tri-fold phone-tablet hybrid that folds twice like the letter Z. The first fold bends inwards like the Galaxy Fold, while the remaining portion bends outwards along the crease akin to the Huawei Mate X.
The second concept device showcased by TCL looks like a regular phone, but it conceals a rollable mechanism that hides the remaining portion of the display which can be pulled out via a motorized mechanism to turn it into a tablet. Notably, TCL says the rollable display mechanism eliminates the crease altogether, something foldable phone users keep complaining about.
As for the more radical rollable display concept, it looks like a regular phone. However, it hides a motorized mechanism that keeps a portion of the display hidden by rolling it alongside the left edge and the bottom. Once the motorized mechanism is activated, the hidden portion of the display extends outwards towards the right, turning the 6.75-inch flexible AMOLED display into a 7.8-inch tablet. When not being used in the tablet mode, the motor automatically retracts the display and turns the device into a regular phone.
What makes this interesting is that the change in form factor automatically enables an adaptation of the user interface to the bigger display, providing additional features like split-screen and multitasking enhancements. With this design style, we won’t have to deal with wrinkles or creases on the foldable OLED screen.
It is worth noting that TCL’s rollable concept phone was originally slated to debut at MWC 2020, but the trade show’s cancellation put those plans on hold.