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TCL's Slide-Out Concept Phone Is a Neat Twist On Foldables

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Image for article titled TCL's Slide-Out Concept Phone Is a Neat Twist On Foldables
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Back at CES 2020, alongside a new family of mainstream smartphones, TCL showed off a foldable phone concept similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. But now, it seems like that device may have just been a teaser for an upcoming slider phone concept featuring a hidden extendable screen.

According to CNET, who obtained leaked images of TCL’s unnamed slider concept before it was scheduled to make its official debut sometime later this week, the phone features a sliding frame that can be pulled out to transform the device into a tablet. That means instead of folding inwards like the Galaxy Fold or outwards like Huawei’s Mate X, the screen on TCL’s concept folds in on itself, offering what looks like a much thinner body while retaining the ability to easily increase its screen real estate when needed.

From the leaked images (which appear to be rendered), it’s unclear exactly how the hinge on TCL’s concept phone actually works, but critically, it appears that the phone comes with one uninterrupted flexible display, and isn’t just mashing two separate screens together.


Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of additional info about TCL’s slider concept, aside from these leaked images giving the impression that the concept is related to TCL’s upcoming 10-series phones in some way. But in a time when so many companies are experimenting with flexible screens, it’s nice to see TCL come up with an innovative twist for foldable tech.


That said, I have a feeling that these renders are making TCL’s concept appear a lot thinner than the phone would be in reality, because based on the current state of bendy screen tech, it would be incredibly difficult to have a foldable screen with a bend radius small enough to fit inside that case. But still, kudos to TCL for thinking big.


On the bright side, while a lot of other phone makers have postponed or canceled upcoming launch events after the GSMA officially put the kibosh on Mobile World Congress 2020, TCL is still planning to go through with its previously scheduled event, so there’s a chance we could find out more about this mysterious sliding phone later this week.