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TCL’s foldable concepts are unlike anything we’ve seen before

They can fold, flip, and roll!

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Are you a believer in the future of foldable smartphones, but not quite convinced about what’s currently available in the market today? 

TCL, a brand best known for making high-end televisions for less, is looking to leverage its display expertise with 3 new experiments that not only hope to pave the way to a future that’s dominated by foldable, bendable, and rollable displays but also to create technology that’s not just novel, but also practical.

Pocketbook

We first saw TCL’s “pocketbook concept” (nicknames all my own) late last year but got our hands on a fully working model this January at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. 

A cross between the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro Duo – this concept device borrows the same horizontal fold idea, albeit wider on both sides. 

Its shape is reminiscent of a book, some have also compared it to a wallet or passport. 

When opened up, the two folded screens turn into a 7.2-inch tablet with a 2K AMOLED display, but its nothing more than that, at least in its current state. You can’t fold it in such a way that would transform it into a smartphone. 

There is no secondary display on the outside. Instead all you’ll find is a row of cameras and this lovely textured glass finish that makes it look like a multi-faceted precious gem.

This concept devices uses TCL’s new Butterfly Hinge that allows the the device to be folded shut without a visible gap in between.

Tri-fold

TCL’s tri-fold concept was born out of the desire for foldable displays to be used for even bigger screen experiences. So instead of just one fold, it folds into 3, transforming from a smartphone about the the size of a Nokia Communicator to that of a 10-inch tablet. 

It’s the first foldable concept we’ve seen with two separate hinges. One folds inward, the other outward. One side uses TCL’s Butterfly Hinge, the other an older hinge design TCL first showed off a full year ago called the Dragon Hinge – which forms an accordion like tear drop shape when folded shut. 

While it become one hefty smartphone when folded and doesn’t stay put as firmly as a regular tablet when unfolded, the idea of being able to fit a 10-inch tablet in your pocket is pretty amazing. 

TCL’s General Manage of Global Marketing Stefan Streit says, “the idea is to go in a direction where people won’t have to bring multiple devices.”     

Rollable display

Of all the design experiments, for me personally, the TCL’s rollable display is most exciting.  And that’s possibly because I’m still waiting for that smartphone that folds into a tube of lipstick like Samsung teased 7years ago.

Unlike the other two devices, or any other device that’s leveraged bendable display technology up to this point this TCL concept does neither has a hinge, nor does it fold. 

Instead, internal motors allow the display on what looks like a regular smartphone to expand to become a 7.8-inch tablet. Imagine physically stretching the phone apart to make it bigger and then squeezing it back together to shrink it. 

Instead of a hinge mechanism these motors furl and unfurl the rollable display, tucking part of the display away and out of sight when not needed. 

At our briefing we were only showed a mock up that you have to manually stretch yourself – but we were showed video of an actual working prototype that does this automatically with the push of a button.

Pricing and availability

TCL stresses none of these concepts are ready for primetime, and are instead investments in finding the best, most practical use cases of this technology. Streit calls it “a long term play” in TCL’s new smartphone business, which marks the launch of its new flagship lineup in the US this week. 

If and when TCL launches its own foldable or rollable smartphone – we’re told to expect it to be priced competitively, matching TCL’s philosophy of offering great displays at more affordable accessible prices.

 


 

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BlackBerry resurrection teased once again

It’s coming this time

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BlackBerry’s rumored comeback might finally happen soon. OnwardMobility, the current owner of BlackBerry’s licenses, has teased the upcoming smartphones once again. Since their last “departure” from the smartphone industry, BlackBerry has been passed on to new owners in hopes of a future resurrection.

Last year, BlackBerry’s previous owner TCL backed out from making BlackBerry devices. The departure signaled another end for BlackBerry. However, soon after the announcement, a few companies announced the purchase of BlackBerry’s licenses, potentially hinting at a return. Notably, Huawei supposedly bought 90 patents from the company. Nothing came of the announcement yet, though.

Besides Huawei, another tech company OnwardMobility announced the most substantial news surrounding BlackBerry’s potential return. Announcing a licensing deal with BlackBerry, the company also promised an upcoming device for the next generation of smartphones. Despite the promise, we still don’t have a new BlackBerry smartphone.

However, OnwardMobility wants to keep the hype train rolling. Recently, the company launched a new “pre-commitment program” wherein subscribers can get information about upcoming products, the actual products themselves, and updates first before non-subscribers. The program specifically lists a BlackBerry device as part of the program. A new smartphone is likely coming soon.

Once upon a time, BlackBerry was one of the most popular handsets for consumers, along with Nokia. However, as slab phones became the norm, the phones of yesteryear either died out or adopted the new norm. Whereas Nokia found its place in the current industry, BlackBerry is still struggling to find its niche.

SEE ALSO: A BlackBerry phone with a physical keyboard is coming in 2021

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Netflix is reportedly producing a live-action Pokémon series

With Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson

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Pokémon remains one of the most popular franchises today. From the ever-popular video game series to the still-ongoing anime series, the creature collector franchise still going strong. Even then, the franchise is reportedly working on another addition to its repertoire: a live-action Netflix series.

According to Variety, Netflix is in the early stages of an upcoming Pokémon series on the platform. Much like the widely successful film Detective Pikachu starring Ryan Reynolds, the series will star actual humans in a live-action format. Beyond that, the report does not go into detail into how the creatures will look like for the series.

Likewise, the report does not indicate when the series will launch.

Lucifer’s Joe Henderson is reportedly helming the series. He is also known for adapting Stephen King’s 11.22.63 for Hulu.

Over the past few years, Pokémon has tapped various segments besides gaming and anime fans. The company has tapped lifestyle with branded accessories and lifestyle-oriented apps. Adding a live-action series will tap into the thriving Netflix market.

For Netflix’s part, the popular streaming platform has considerably increased the variety of genres it is producing. Besides the live-action Pokémon series, Netflix is also releasing an anime version of its popular original, The Witcher.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

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Motorola Edge series might lose its (curved) edge

Is it coming soon?

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What becomes of a smartphone series once it loses its biggest feature? Motorola fans might have to contend with that question soon. According to a leak, Motorola will release a successor to the Motorola Edge series soon. However, it won’t come with its one defining feature: the edge display.

Leaked and rendered by OnLeaks and Pricebaba, the upcoming Edge sequel will sport a 6.7-inch screen without the curved display. To compensate, the series is getting a smoother 120Hz, 1080p resolution display to bring it to flagship standards.

Also depicted on the leaked renders, the sequel will have a triple rear camera setup: 108-megapixel main camera + 16-megapixel + 8-megapixel. The leak, however, doesn’t indicate how the cameras will be used. Inside, it will wield a Snapdragon 778G chipset, 8GB of RAM, up to 256 of internal storage, and a sizable 4000mAh battery.

If the render looks devastating for Motorola fans, there’s still a chance that the curved edge will still make an appearance in the next series. The renders don’t include the higher-tier Edge or what will likely be known as the Edge 20 Pro. The unknown model can still have the edge display once the series launches. Additionally, the company is also reportedly adding a Lite version to the lineup.

It’s been over a year since the original Edge series came out. Though we don’t know when the sequel will launch, the timing is right for it.

SEE ALSO: Motorola one 5G ace Hands-On: 5G for less!

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