At the TCL 20L reveal event, the company had one big surprise for the end: a new flexible-display concept phone that is both a foldable and a rollable. Aptly, it’s called the TCL Fold N’ Roll.
We're in a new era of flexible-display mobile devices.
Judging by the footage we saw, the Fold N’ Roll looks like a tall-format foldable akin to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, which unfolds flat to show an interior phablet-size display. But one of the sides unrolls to lengthen that inner screen even further, which could reach the size of a typical tablet display – and almost surely be the largest phone screen ever made.
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The TCL Rollable is still coming either this year or in 2022, TCL has told TechRadar, so the Fold N’ Roll is simply a new model in TCL’s expanding catalogue of concept phones that stretch the boundaries of what phones can do. It’s always possible that the company ends up turning this idea into a consumer product (like it’s done with the TCL Rollable), but for now it’s just a possibility.
TCL Fold N’ Roll in my hands...when?
What’s stopping TCL from producing the Fold N’ Roll right away? In an extensive interview, TCL executives explained to TechRadar that the phones industry isn’t quite there yet – but in the next couple years, developments in displays and components could make them mainstream consumer options.
This makes sense – the only flexible-display devices that have reached the market have been foldables, and aside from the TCL Rollable, and Oppo's equivalent, the only other rollable we’ve seen confirmed to be in development was the LG Rollable...which probably won’t come out after LG’s mobile division folded.
How will the Fold N’ Roll, and other flexible display phones, fit into TCL’s lineup? Regular smartphones aren’t going away, so expect successors to the TCL 20 to arrive in the years to come. But creating innovativeive new flexible displays remains a priority in the company – not just for mobile solutions, but to use in applications across the company in other products and appliances.
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David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.