TCL had hoped to release a clamshell phone unlike the Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Flip3. That used to mean a clamshell phone with a starting price of $799, but it looks like it won't be possible for at least another year.
Foldable phones have been around for several years. However, people who really want to buy one are discouraged by the relatively high price and questionable reliability. Only when Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3 did consumers finally feel the need to upgrade to one.
Of course other options like the Motorola Razr 5G, Royole FlexPai 2, and even Huawei Mate Xs. The problem is that the first two options are definitely less powerful, while the second one doesn't have access to Google Play Services. Samsung's Galaxy Z range isn't perfect either, but the Galaxy Z Flip3's $999 starting price and detailed instructions for the Galaxy Z Fold3 helped sell the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note 20.
Over the past few years, TCL has also worked on its phones shellfish; That includes a competitor to the Galaxy Z Flip3 called the Chicago Project - an ambitious endeavor that has unfortunately been stalled for another 12 to 18 months. This decision was made before the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 was introduced.
Stephen Street, director of marketing at TCL, explained that the company is returning to the design page for a number of reasons. One is that TCL was hoping to build an affordable foldable machine, which isn't possible given the current shortage of chips and other core components. Then there is the lack of carrier support for the canceled 5G modem inside the phone.
Image: TCL is also exploring the "Fold 'n Roll" concept of smartphones
Another reason is the weakness of the TCL brand in the smartphone market. This is because the company only started selling its branded phones in 2020 after years of selling affordable Alcatel brand phones and until recently under the BlackBerry and Palm brands. One of the current offerings is the TCL 20 Pro 5G - a powerful phone that can take on the Samsung Galaxy A52 and Google Pixel 4a.
The good news is that TCL won't let go of its promise that it will eventually bring its folds to market. However, the market as it is today is still in its infancy. Samsung may be the first mover, but many believe the folds won't get much bigger until Apple joins the competition. The Cupertino-based giant is reportedly planning to launch one in its first year in 2023, but that could change if the device doesn't meet the company's high standards.
TCL was competing with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, but now we have to start over