But if there is one thing, the company seems to love, doing it’s, producing weird concepts and watching people react to it back at ces. It showed off a phone with a rollable screen and a 17 inch device that unfurls like a scroll. Then this week, tcl trotted out a device, their engineers call the fold and roll, and really that name says it all: Music, the fold and roll starts off as a pretty conventional looking smartphone with a 6.87 inch display, but things don’t stay conventional for very long. When you need a bit more screen space for your ebooks or your web browser, this concept device unfolds, madex style into a squarish tablet with a larger 8.85 inch screen and when you need even more space for watching movies or something that screen rolls out from its Housing to become even bigger, 10 inches diagonal the fold and roll might not be as strange as some of the company’s other concepts like that weird trifold tablet last year, but it’s pretty close. More importantly, though, this actually seems like something people might want to use. After all, who wouldn’t want a phone that can stretch out to provide just as much screen as you need it with the right components under the hood? The photo roll really seems like it might be that one device that just does it all, but now it’s time for a reality check just as we’ve seen with the company’s other outlandish concepts, there’s no guarantee the fold and roll will ever actually go on sale.

In fact, we can think of a few reasons why tcl won’t go through the effort of building a smartphone tablet, hybrid, like this anytime, soon for one the fold and roll, arguably folds the wrong way. Just like huawei’s mate x nxs, this device’s flexible display curves around the outside of its body instead of folding inwards on itself, the way the galaxy z4 does. As a result, this design leaves a folding rose, big pliable, exterior screen susceptible to all kinds of damage. From drops and junk in your bag today, the only company of note that ran with that audi design was huawei, but when it came time to build the mate x2, it gave up and build a samsung style foldable instead it’s just better suited to life in the Real world and then there’s the price, a device like this with multiple mechanisms for stretching out the screen will probably cost a lot to build, and so it would have to sell for a lot too. Making smartphones and tablets with steep price tags is the last thing that tcl wants to do. For now. At least, the company has already confirmed that it plans to release a smartphone with a foldable display sometime this year and when we spoke to tcl mobile’s marketing. Chief last year at ces, it sounded like they were aiming for somewhere around a thousand dollars or less. When you consider the fact that lg’s ill fated rollable was rumored to cost as much as 2300 at launch it’s hard to imagine, tcl turning out folding rolls cheaply over the next few years.

If the tcl brand picks up steam with shoppers, the company might just go for broke and make pricey foldable rollables for now it’s best to think of the fold and roll as another, very public experiment. The market for foldables and rollables is still in its infancy and the industries just still figuring out what concepts and what formats will stick in that way. It kind of feels like we’re, stuck in the early days of the smartphone era before the device is all turned into pretty slabs of metal and glass companies tried all kinds of things like physical qwerty, keyboards, capacitive touch, pads 3d screens and all kinds of other weird Features that never went anywhere, the folding roll is born from that same kind of ambitious experimentation. Maybe this is a glimpse at what future phones will look like, or maybe this is another evolutionary dead end.