The Galaxy Fold blew people away when Samsung showed off the device a year ago. A few days after that, Huawei added fuel to the fire with the crowd-stopping Mate X. The age of foldable phones was upon us. This year, with the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr out, there’s a modest level of interest in foldables, but not the rabid curiosity of a year ago. Are foldables already old news? Yes they are. And that’s because there’s already something else on the horizon: rollable phones…scrolls
TCL, a company best known for making budget-friendly big-screen televisions, actually did it, and in a way that makes perfect sense. Though foldable phones have been pitched as the future of how all our phones will look and operate, the idea of a rolling display that unfurls and enlarges could prove to be an alternative vision of our future handset.
It’s a normal 6.75-inch display when closed, but it extends to 7.8 inches when opened. The effect is remarkable when you give it a quick glance, as if the screen is stretching like taffy while you pull it. Take a closer look, though, and you see the excess flexible display roll out of the left side. When closed, the rest of the screen is rolled up into the back of the display.
For TCL, a scrollable phone would be a good way to get on the map. The company has long made budget phones using the Alcatel brand, and it has a deal to sell BlackBerry-branded phones. But the TCL name itself is associated with affordable (and extremely good) TVs, not phones.
And the company’s budget roots should have us all encouraged. TCL is shooting to release a foldable or scrollable that’s 30% to 40% less expensive than existing foldables in the market. That would make a huge difference when the starting price for the Galaxy Z Flip is a mere $1,380.
We’re all itching for something different, and a scrollable phone might be something different that makes sense.