TCL confirms it will launch a rollable or foldable phone this year

TCL rollable phone
(Image credit: TCL)

Could 2021 be the year of rollable phones? It’s possible, as not only has LG revealed the LG Rollable, but now TCL has given us a closer look at a rollable phone it has in the works – as well as confirming that it will launch a phone with a flexible display this year.

Stefan Streit, general manager of global marketing for TCL's phone business, said as much to CNET, but wouldn’t confirm whether this phone was foldable or rollable.

As such, we suspect it will probably be a foldable phone, since a number of companies already sell them – most notably Samsung with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. On top of which TCL itself showed off a foldable phone concept over a year ago, so it’s had plenty of time to turn it into a commercial product.

That said, we definitely wouldn’t rule out a rollable phone, especially as TCL has now provided a clear look at its rollable concept device, dubbed an ‘AMOLED Rollable Display’. In the video below you can see that when held in portrait orientation the screen can extend upwards at the press of a button, taking it from 6.7 inches to 7.8 inches.

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The device is apparently less than 10mm thick, meaning it shouldn’t be much thicker than a typical smartphone – giving it an edge over foldables, which can be quite chunky when they’re folded shut.

The phone also seems to have a mirror-like back, and supposedly the interface will adapt when you change the display size. It’s not clear exactly what TCL means by this though – whether, for example, it just means apps and videos seamlessly change size, or whether the interface appearance and ways you interact with the phone actually change.

Even more ambitiously, TCL has also shown off a ‘Printed Flexible OLED Scrolling Display’ that apparently feels like a piece of paper, is just 0.18mm thick, and can be unrolled from a narrow tube-like shape to a 17-inch screen – we think we can confidently say that it won’t be going on sale this year though, as it looks seriously futuristic.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.