After announcing several new 20-series phones during its “Display Your Greatness” event, TCL showed off a new Fold ‘n Roll concept device, a smartphone that combines folding and rolling technology to achieve three distinct form factors. TCL also announced that it’s “on track” to release its first foldable later this year.
The Fold ‘n Roll builds on concepts that we saw during CES 2021 earlier this year. It starts as a 6.87-inch smartphone, unfolds to an 8.85-inch “phablet” form factor, and can expand (like a scroll) to a 10-inch tablet.
And unlike the tri-fold concept shown off by TCL in 2020, the Fold ‘n Roll isn’t obscenely thick or awkward to hold. It’s only slightly thicker than a regular smartphone, thanks to the rolling screen technology.
TCL acknowledges that the Fold ‘n Roll needs a lot of work. Hiding nearly 5 inches of screen while in the “smartphone” form factor is a difficult task, so you’re left with extra screen on the rear side of the device. We probably won’t see the Fold ‘n Roll hit store shelves any time soon, though TCL has working prototypes and improve the concept for a future release.
At the end of its “Display Your Greatness” livestream, TCL announced its plans to release a foldable device by the end of 2021. Pricing and design for the foldable remain unannounced, though TCL hints that it will cost less than foldables from Samsung.