TCL showed off a foldable and rollable smartphone concept back in April, and the company just showcased an actual working prototype of a similar device. The new prototype smartphone can fold, and it also has a sliding mechanism that allows the display to roll out, extending the overall screen real estate of the device even further.
Since the device was a concept, it was easy to assume that such a complex device would never turn out to be a real product, but it seems like TCL hasn’t stopped experimenting with its ideas, and it made a prototype of the futuristic foldable and rollable model.
The video below gives us a glimpse of how the device works in practice. The user can seemingly unfold a traditional sized (perhaps slightly wider) smartphone to make it a tablet. The tablet can extend the display further, making it a full-fledged tablet with a larger display, making it a suitable device for multitasking, watching movies, and more. The video also makes it clear that this technology is still a few years away, and the user interface doesn’t refresh fast enough to stand up to other foldable devices on the market, such as the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
While the software obviously needs a lot more optimizations, it’s questionable how such a mechanism will hold up when used hundreds and thousands of times on a weekly basis by real users. We’ve seen the folding mechanism break on Samsung and Motorola devices before, and the sliding mechanism only adds one more thing that could potentially break, rendering the device useless in case of a drop. Whatever the case is, the technology is very impressive, and we can only hope that TCL and other companies manage to fix the current issues, and make it a real viable product in the future.