Samsung is going to unveil its first foldable smartphone soon, something the company has been working towards for quite some time. Other companies like Motorola are also going to show off their own foldable designs. But, for the most part, it sounds like most companies are keeping their foldable phone ambitions pretty close to the vest, with one phone to kick things off. That is apparently not the case with TCL, though.
That company, which is known for launching BlackBerry-branded smartphones (along with Alcatel phones, too), is said to be working on five different foldable phones. That doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see TCL launch all of these devices, but the impression from the initial report does seem to suggest that TCL is moving ahead with five different designs.
That's quite a few different options, even if the key differences in most of them are the folding direction.
Based on the renders of the five foldable devices, two are fold-out tablets, something similar to what Samsung is probably going to launch later this month. The difference between the two is that one folds inward, and the other folds outward. And the same can be said for the device that unfolds like a flip-phone, or something similar to what Motorola is going to launch with the revitalized RAZR device. Again, there are two variants here: one that folds down like a standard flip-phone and the other that folds backwards.
It will be interesting to see if companies go this route for their foldable phones in general. Launching different variants where the key change is the way the phone folds. I would imagine that, if this is the case, the companies will build software to make each stand out in their own way. The results could be pretty exciting, all depending on the way the phone folds.
Unsurprisingly, the TCL foldable device that's getting most of the attention is the smartwatch-styled device. This thing would fold and curve to look something similar to a huge bracelet or smartwatch. You'd then unfold it to get the full smartphone experience. It's an interesting idea, and even in a market of weird handsets, it would be the one that gets most of the coverage.
I want to see more designs like the unfolding smartwatch, to be honest. The weirder the better. We've been using these slabs of glass for so long, it is legitimately refreshing to see these designs crop up. Will they be any good? Who knows! Maybe the foldable phone trend won't take off at all, and these slabs of glass will be what we're stuck with until everyone's accepting of augmented reality glasses or something.
That being said, I don't think I'd wear something like an unfolding smartwatch for my smartphone. With wireless technology the way it is, especially with headphones, you probably wouldn't have to take the device off for most calls. Especially if you already use your smartwatch to answer them. But I still think I prefer my phone and my watch to be two separate devices. It would be a little too strange, I think, to constantly take off my watch every time I wanted to use my phone.
Plus, there's just no way that device is comfortable to wear.
I applaud the ingenuity and creativity, though. And while an unfolding smartwatch might not be something I'm clamoring for anytime soon, I still think it's a cool idea and it should definitely see the light of day for consumers sooner rather than later.
What do you think of TCL's designs? Are you on board with an unfolding smartwatch as your go-to smartphone? Let me know!