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What looks like a foldable phone, but can’t be folded?

When it comes to foldable smartphones, there’s only thing on my mind: I want one. But they’re expensive, and they’re still very much in the early stage of the cycle—which basically means that some of the kinks haven’t been straightened out yet. We’ve all heard about Samsung‘s troubles with the first Galaxy Fold, and the general public is still… unsure about dropping high prices on a device that may run into some problems. And of course, there’s the crease.

But maybe the crease issue could be solved by a new device that TCL is reportedly working on. The folks over at CNET have now shared an image of a prototype smartphone that expands into a tablet—just like a foldable phone. One difference: instead of unfolding into a tablet, it looks like it utilises a slide-out mechanism.

Currently, the foldable phones in the market right now are the Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate X, the Galaxy Z Flip, and of course, the Motorola Razr. But the next competitor to hit the market from TCL, could be the most interesting concept of them all. In an ideal situation, I’m guessing that this could mean that the crease in the display would be less noticeable, and it’s nice to see someone come up with something new.

Sadly, we don’t have any more information on the new slideable—if that’s even a word—phone. Word is, TCL was planning on showing this off to tech journalists at the Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona this month. But now that MWC has been cancelled due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, we aren’t sure when TCL is going to reveal more.

Judging from the photos, it looks like the phone has a continuous display that, when in “smartphone mode”, uses half of the screen. When the phone is “expanded”, a guess would be that the other half of the screen is unfurled from within the phone—meaning that it could be rolled up when the phone is closed.

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That’s all speculation on my part, however, and it’s worth noting that the images don’t actually reveal anything of significance, beyond the fact that it’s a slide-out mechanism. And with the recent launch of the Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr, it’s nice to see someone make a smartphone that expands into a tablet, as opposed to one that retracts into a smaller form-factor—to me, it’s a form-factor that has so much more potential.