TCL has just unwrapped an exciting rollable display concept during the DTC 2021 event in China. Known as the Fold’n Roll concept, there’s even a video of this new tech in action.
The video comes courtesy of Fold Universe on Twitter (via). The device appears to be in the early stages of development, so it’s probably some distance away from going mainstream. Regardless, this is a unique concept and highlights the flexibility of modern-day screens.
This device folds and expands in the same manner as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. In this state, the display can stretch horizontally from the left, effectively transforming into a tablet. The user interface isn’t optimized for the form factor, which isn’t particularly a deal-breaker given the fact that this is a prototype. But we’re curious to see what a finished product would look like, though it’s likely going to be a long wait.
This TCL prototype folds outwards, meaning it doesn’t need an additional screen. By contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 folds inwards thus requiring another screen on the front. The TCL prototype offers a 6.87-inch screen in its standard stance while it expands to 8.55-inches when unfolded. The horizontally rolling screen then turns it into a 10-inch screen, offering a complete tablet experience.
Companies like HONOR and OPPO are also working on rollable display phones
TCL subsidiary CSOT showcased two new rollable display prototypes at CES 2021. Both were OLED panels while one of them fits the description of the rollable display we’re discussing now. Separately, TCL has also demonstrated a vertically rollable display, so it’s clear the company has put in a lot of work towards this.
It’s worth noting that TCL isn’t the only company working on a rollable display device. A few months ago, former Huawei brand HONOR patented a rollable smartphone “with wraparound display,” signaling its interest in the sector.
Separately, OPPO is reportedly taking significant steps towards launching rollable display phones. A recent report suggested that the Chinese OEM launch both foldable and rollable smartphones in 2022. The company has even unveiled the OPPO X 2021 rollable smartphone concept, so its intentions are pretty clear.
Expectedly, Samsung is also racing to bring a rollable display device to the market. However, the Korean manufacturer’s immediate focus is to expand its foldable display production for the next generation of Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip smartphones.