TCL is planning its own foldable devices, including a wearable

TCL foldable phones
Image credit: CNET/TCL

We're expecting a rush of foldable phones and other devices with bending screens to appear this year, and another big name in the industry just had its plans leaked: Chinese tech giants TCL has a family of foldable devices in the pipeline, CNET reports, and one of them works as an all-screen smartwatch.

CNET obtained patent applications and renders from inside the company – which is best known for its budget televisions – but emphasizes that these folding devices are still in the early stages of development.

"The images are preliminary, and TCL could change or scrap its plans," says CNET. "It's also unclear when the devices could hit the market."

According to CNET, TCL has at least two phones, two tablets, and the smartwatch wearable on the drawing board at the moment, though those are just about all the details we have. The company has dabbled in smartphone production before.

Join the queue

If and when TCL does launch its own range of devices-that-fold, it's going to have plenty of competition to take on. Chinese manufacturer Nubia recently teased a foldable smartwatch-phone hybrid that it's going to unveil at MWC 2019.

Even before that we should see the long-awaited Galaxy X: Samsung has been working on a foldable handset for a long, long time, and the rumor is that it'll finally see the light of day at the Unpacked event on February 20.

LG, Huawei, Sony and Vivo have also been tipped to be working on foldable phones (or have just come out and confirmed it). Basically every major name in the industry has some kind of bendable device in the pipeline.

The first attempts at this sort of technology are already here of course: check out our hands-on review of the Royole FlexPai, which has a hinge in the middle of the screen.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.