TCL introduced a prototype smartphone called “Fold 'n Roll” back in April 2021, which, as the name suggests, folds and slides. It has a display that begins on the cover, curves around the side, unfolds and continues all the way to the right-hand side. Then it expands to the left, turning into a 10” tablet.
We thought the project might never see the light of day and will remain within the realms of digital design, but a short video from DTC 2021 in Shenzhen, China revealed there is one unit in real life.
The 30-second clip reveals the technology is here, but the interface is definitely not ready yet. The home screen lags to adapt to the changes, even if the technology looks impressive. We did learn from Chinese media representatives that this was a demo of the new display capabilities by TCL and its subsidiary CSOT rather than revealing a smartphone that might be launched in the near future.
CSOT, which is short for China Star Optoelectronics Technology, provides screens for its parent company and its TV business. It is also a major player on the home scene, providing LCD panels to six local TV manufacturers, enjoying the world’s fastest growth rate in the display business.