TCL launched its own smartphones with the TCL 10 series in early 2020, and this year we looked at the TCL 20 series products, including the fantastic high-end model TCL 20 Pro 5G which is still doing costs only $ 530. TCL has compelling smartphones in the affordable range and wants to do the same with its foldable devices, but has decided that it won’t be in 2021.
We saw TCL teasing various foldable and rollable prototypes while planning to launch its first foldable prototype in 2021. CNET had the chance to try the foldable Project Chicago and has all the details of what we almost saw in 2021. As you can see, it seems to offer an experience similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, which turns out to be the most fun I have had with a phone in a long time.
See also: TCL 20 Pro 5G test: Stunning design, beautiful display, powerful quad camera system.
With the new public details on TCL’s Project Chicago and the time I’ve spent with the Z Flip 3, I’m even more disappointed to hear the news that TCL is holding back its foldable release. Stefan Streit, CMO of TCL Communication, made the following statement:
As one of the world’s largest display and smartphone manufacturers, TCL has spent decades developing products that offer high-end technologies at affordable prices. Over the past few years, TCL has invested billions of dollars in research and development of new and upcoming display technologies, including flexible displays and foldable smartphones.
Although the foldable market is growing every year, it is still a premium product category. Combined with the recent shortage of components, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs in foldable production, TCL has made the difficult decision to suspend the launch of its first commercially available foldable smartphone until the company can produce it and at a certain price can bring to market that is accessible to as many consumers as possible.
TCL continues to invest in flexible display technologies and is closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to introduce a foldable smartphone. In the meantime, we’re continuing to focus on our 5G for All initiative launched at Mobile World Congress 2021, where we’re working with carriers around the world to bring 5G solutions to all consumers in a variety of price ranges and product categories.
Despite the indefinite hold, I am thrilled to see how far TCL has come with its first foldable product and I am excited about the future. Regular readers know that I am into foldable phones as productivity tools, and it’s great to see that in the future we’ll have affordable competitors who will challenge Samsung and others.