For better or worse, smartphone design is going through a bit of a change. We've had the same designs, the "slab of glass", for so long now that many feel like it's about time we start seeing something different. I'm a bit on the fence these days, but I can also admit that seeing foldable phones or devices with pop-out cameras is pretty awesome.
That doesn't necessarily mean I'm ready to drop my slab of glass just yet, but at least the future looks interesting.
I recently asked if you plan on waiting for Microsoft's first real attempt at experimentation, with the upcoming Surface Duo dual-screen handset looking to launch later this year. It's an interesting looking handset, and while it might have some shortcomings compared to the more standard flagship handset, the design itself is reason enough (for some) to pick it up.
We have seen a lot of crazy designs recently, especially with foldable phones. Motorola brought back the Razr brand with a handset that looks like the original model, but updated in all the right ways. And Samsung already has two foldable phones under its belt after waiting so many years just to launch one. We've got portrait and landscape designs, with plenty more unique takes on the idea coming down the pipe.
Take, for example, the recently revealed prototype from TCL. This handset might have a foldable display, but it's taking a very different route than Samsung or Huawei or Motorola. The prototype reveals a "slide-out" design, which gives you more screen real estate by sliding out the rest of the display. Information about the device (which, again, is just a prototype) is thin, but based on what we've seen so far it looks like one screen bends or wraps around the other when the phone is "closed".
I found it interesting that one of the reasons we're supposed to like foldable phones is because it's one more way to get rid of the dreaded notch, but the TCL prototype is still rocking a pill-shaped hole-punch for a pair of front-facing cameras. That might not be an issue to some, but others might find it annoying.
Either way, the TCL prototype slide-out phone is pretty awesome and I'm hoping we get to see more wild ideas like this down the road. What will make it instantly better, though, is if TCL (or any other smartphone manufacturer for that matter) can make this design actually work.
So, what do you think of TCL's idea? We were going to see it at this year's Mobile World Congress event, but that was unfortunately canceled. So we'll have to wait and see TCL show this concept off. But based on what you've read and seen so far, is this a design you might be interested in? Let me know!