Following MWC’s cancellation late last month we saw leaks that TCL was planning to unveil two concept expanding displays in Barcelona. Today some US based outlets seem to have gotten some hands on time with the mock ups.
After much speculation TCL has indeed been developing a rolling display device in a hope of reducing the crease lines found on the current crop of folding displays we are seeing. This concept device was only a mock up, and the display was reportedly made of paper.
The basic concept is simple, rather than a folding display, the “roll-able” would curve around the inside of the device allowing it to slide out as needed. TCL apparently have a working prototype in a lab that is mortised, and it when you click a button it opens out and expands your phone.
The tri-fold display takes the standard foldable hinge we’ve come to know, and adds two of them, this allows a device the size of a phone to fold out to be the same size as an 9-inch tablet. Of course, the initial phone is three times as thick and weights as much as three phones.
The tri-fold device was working and had a version of Android running on it. This is not to say it worked well, or was consumer ready, but if you’re excited about expanding phones or the future of the foldable category these are necessary steps along the path to perhaps a working design.
Unless you want mobile devices to remain monolithic black slabs of glass, metal and plastic then these developments from companies like TCL are exactly the kind of experiments we need. I for one am very interested in the rolling screen, just as soon as they figure out how not to scratch up the display!