TCL did indeed have a foldable smartphone in its boxes, which was supposed to be released before the end of the year. Unfortunately, the Chinese firm abandoned the project, even though the model was at a very advanced stage of production.
Several American media have managed to get their hands on a preproduction model of TCL’s first folding smartphone. Expected to be released before the end of the year, its first test was eventually abandoned, the company having decided to postpone its entry into this segment until next year.
Code name: Chicago
This is indeed the name adopted by this foldable TCL. The firm was not at its first attempt in the field, since since MWC 2019, it has shown its involvement in the design of smartphones with a screen capable of folding. The Chicago therefore materialized the know-how of TCL, before the project failed in its last stage, which was supposed to allow it to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
Because the TCL Chicago adopted a format clamshell, exactly like the Korean model. The Chicago, however, was thicker, less premium in its finish, but had an advantage over the Galaxy Z Flip – it could be completely closed in on itself. The hinge made it possible not to leave any space between the two parts of the screen, even if a slight void remained at the fold. As the lucky ones who were able to lay their hands on the product agree, the hinge was not as strong as what Samsung can offer. But keep in mind that TCL intended to position its smartphone in the mid-range – ideally below the $ 1,000 mark, according to a spokesperson for the company. Michael Fisher, a reporter for the YouTube channel MrMobile, goes further by indicating that the TCL Chicago could have been sold for $ 799. An excessively low floor price for a foldable smartphone, which could have allowed the firm to forget its small flaws.
Especially since the technical sheet, without being upscale, was nothing to be ashamed of either. The smartphone would have been equipped with a Snapdragon 765G coupled with 6 GB of RAM as well as 128 GB of storage. The 6.67-inch screen in Amoled adopted a 20: 9 ratio – as on a classic model – with a definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels. The introduced battery was vastly superior to that of Flip, with a 3545 mAh accumulator. Wireless charging at 10W was also on the program and the outdoor screen was 1.1 inches, in Amoled. Because yes, just like the two Galaxy Z Flip, the TCL Chicago opted for an external screen offering some features, such as music control, viewing the weather forecast and, of course, capturing selfies using the two modules present. just below (48 and 16 megapixels). Incidentally, the integration of the exterior panel was not as graceful as on the Flip, very reminiscent of what we can find on the back of a Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra for example.
Competition still too strong
You will have understood, with this Chicago, TCL intended to attack Samsung on its ground. Motorola had risked it with the Razr, but quickly burned its wings with a model as expensive as it was unconvincing. It must be said that Samsung masters its subject and that currently, the company is the only one to offer successful models. Here we leave out Huawei, whose folding models are not without interest, but which are not available from us.
According to CNET, the decision to abandon Project Chicago came long before the August Unpacked and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 presentation. Subsequently, the company definitively concluded that the smartphone would never be released, even though it was almost ended. MrMobile adds in his video that one of the reasons that pushed TCL not to offer its mobile lies in the price. TCL is looking to hit hard by releasing its first folding model, and while $ 799 is still an unprecedented price for now, the company believes it can manage to offer an even cheaper product.
The Chicago will never see the light of day, but its successor should nevertheless largely resemble it, while gaining in finesse and robustness. It definitely won’t be released in 2021, but we can count on a presentation next year, if not the next. TCL expects “the market is ready to welcome a foldable smartphone at a lower cost“, obviously counting on the return to normal of the situation in terms of price of the various components. For the moment, the firm indicates to concentrate on more” classic “models, history of making its hole with a larger public.
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