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TCL Concept Phone With Slide-Out Display Sounds Fascinating, But Not Durable

The slide-out display design of TCL's concept phone, which was expected to be unveiled at MWC 2020. (Image: Cnet)

The slide-out display design of TCL's concept phone, which was expected to be unveiled at MWC 2020. (Image: Cnet)

The renders show the slide-out screen on the TCL concept phone, but does not explain how this system might work, mechanically.

TCL appears to have made a super unique take on the smartphone-tablet hybrid form factor that foldable phones are trying to bring along. Official-looking renders and marketing images of the phone have surfaced online, showing a unique, slide-out display design. These images, which come courtesy of Cnet, show off an unnamed TCL smartphone, which unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Motorola Razr, does not fold at all. Instead, it slides out to reveal more screen space, transforming itself into a tablet of sorts when the entire display area is open.

It is presumed that the extra screen area will fold into the device somewhere on its rear, and it could make the phone a whole lot thicker than what is typically seen. The extra screen is protected by a slide-out cover at the back. The unnamed phone appears like a regular phone otherwise, with curved sides and a dual-punch hole design storing the front cameras. At the back, it has a vertically stacked quad rear camera setup. In order to create the slide-out mechanism, TCL appears to have used a crease or gap somewhere.

While the concept was expected to have been present at MWC 2020, the conference has since been cancelled, which means that we may not get a glimpse of this concept phone any time soon. It's not clear if such a device would be durable enough — history indicates that devices with moving parts are not the best suited for long term durability. On top of that, foldable display panels have been seen to not be the most durable — pretty much every single foldable phone of note have run into some form of trouble or another.

These very factors would have led to TCL's slide-out screen concept phone a very interesting one to see. Since the display appears to be curving inward when slid in, it is possible that such a device may have resolved the crease formation issue to an extent. For now, however, we will have to make do with these press renders of the smartphone — at least until TCL makes an announcement regarding the said smartphone, at some point of time in the future.