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Here’s is a affordable TCL foldable phone – Guide
For more than two years, TCL has been showing prototypes of possible folding phones for reporters. One of them had a 10-inch screen that folded into three. Other featured a screen that wrapped around the wrist. Yet another had a big screen that closed like a book, a featured a screen you pulled to expand it into a tablet, and a more futuristic model included foldingand scrollablescreens on the same device.
And there was a shell model that looked a lot like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola’s Razr. This device, code-named Chicago Project, is what TCL planned to release early in the fourth quarter. The objective was to sell the phone for less than Samsung’s $1,000 or more collapsibles and Motorola’s $1,400 Razr. The Chinese giant had the folding almost ready – and this week it even shipped one of the nearly finished prototypes to CNET to prove it was real – but it didn’t. final decided to discard it and start over.
Now, TCL won’t release its first folding for at least 12 to 18 months, Stefan Streit, TCL’s marketing director, said in an interview ahead of Friday’s announcement. And when I present the device, it won’t be Chicago, but a revamped product. For now, the hope of a lower-cost folding device will have to wait.
“We could finish this product and bring it to market, but it somehow felt…not right,” said Streit. “For us, this category is very, very important. We will bring products. We will bring a series of products. ” Just not the first device TCL thought it would release.
While TCL sold phones under the low-cost Alcatel brand for years – and for a brief period under the BlackBerry name – it has only been selling devices under its own TCL brand since early 2020. It is among the top players in televisions, but TCL lacks the recognition needed in mobile to attract people willing to try a new category of products, such as folding. Even Samsung, the biggest in the world phone manufacturer, is still beginning to make consumers trust that the foldables are durable enough to withstand normal daily use.
TCL decided to cancel the introduction of its first collapsible because of several “commercial” factors – weakness of its brand, expensive components due to the pandemic and lack of operator support, said Streit.
Perhaps most of all, the TCL move is an acknowledgment that folding may not be ready for conventional users – at least not in high volumes and at low prices.
Foldable remains a small part of the overall smartphone market. This year, vendors are expected to sell about 7 million of those devices, according to Strategy Analytics, while companies will sell 1.35 billion regular smartphones. That last month’s estimate included potential sales of TCL.
It’s not until Apple releases its first collapsibles, possibly in the second half of 2023, that the devices start selling in larger numbers, Strategy Analytics analyst Ken Hyers said in August. His company expects about 15 million foldables to be sold worldwide in 2023 and more than double that amount in the following year. By 2026, the number of foldables sold worldwide is expected to reach nearly 170 million, says Strategy Analytics.
TCL aimed to launch a featured foldable to the final from 2021, which cost less than Samsung’s handsets, but the lowest price it can achieve with its first handset was $800, Streit said. Samsung’s new Z Flip 3 starts at $1,000, while its Z Fold 3 sells for $1,800.
“If someone can spend $800, they can also spend $1,000,” said Streit. “He will probably choose the brand he has known for many years and trusts the most.”
Competing with the Z Flip 3
At the same time, some of the Chicago specs aren’t as sophisticated as the Z Flip 3. The two devices look similar, but the TCL’s folding is a little thicker, a little wider and a little heavier. And the front screen is smaller 1.1 inches diagonally versus 1.9 inches for the Z Flip 3. The internal screens are about the same size: 6.67 inches diagonally for TCL and 6.7 inches for Samsung.
Chicago isn’t water resistant like the Z Flip 3, and it’s probably not as resistant, said Streit. It uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor, which is not as fast or powerful as the Z Flip 3’s Snapdragon 888. Chicago also has a slower version of 5G and cannot be used on Verizon’s ultra-broadband network. Its fastest download speed is 2.7 Gbps versus Snapdragon 888’s peak of 7.5 Gbps.
Chicago would be available in one color, “Pastel Gold,” which looks like a peach-colored matte plastic body with gold metal accents on the sides and edges of the hinge. When displayed alongside Samsung’s cream-colored Z Flip 3, it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between devices.
One area where Chicago could have an advantage over the Z Flip 3 is the part of the inner screen where it folds in half. The crease on the prototype sent to CNET is less pronounced – both visually and when touching the screen – than on the Z Flip 3. Patrick Holland of CNET, who has reviewed Samsung’s folders, said the crease on the Z Flip 3 does not it bothers you, although it is noticeable when interacting with the middle of the screen.
TCL decided to cancel Chicago ahead of Samsung’s Unpacked event in August, Streit said. But seeing the Z Flip 3 cemented his decision, even though Chicago was complete, except for tweaks for features like the software and the hinge.
“I’m using it every day,” Streit said of Chicago. “Nothing has changed” about how much TCL believes in folding, he said, but market conditions need to improve before launching a consumer device. For now, TCL has already started working on the folding that it really hopes to sell.
That device, while similar to the Chicago one, will be thinner and tougher, Streit said, but will likely still be a high-tech flip. phone Project.
“It’s … the most natural step we’ve come from,” he said.
The hope is that in the final by 2022 or early 2023, the market is ready for a lower-cost folding, Streit said. Component prices will likely return to normal, TCL’s brand will be stronger, 5G will be widely deployed so operators can support others phones, consumers will be looking for new types of devices and prices will finally be low enough for widespread adoption, he said.
“We feel that this… is the best time for TCL to launch something that… hopefully brings it into more mass market segments,” said Streit.
For all of you curious about what might have been, here are the main specs:
Dimensions and weight
battery and charging
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