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TCL gets serious about phones that shine, fold and go edge-to-edge

The TV-maker isn't afraid to experiment with interesting new designs, including foldable phones.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

TCL is a new name for phones, but the company has been making and selling them for years under the Alcatel brand. Now it's showing off concept designs galore for interesting designs.

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2 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We first saw TCL's foldable phone concepts in late February, which were extremely bare bones mock-ups. This is a much more mature prototype.

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3 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

While the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a large phone that opens into a tablet, TCL envisions a more pocketable flip phone for one of its designs. 

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4 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This design exhibits a large air gap and something TCL calls its Dragon Hinge, however it's also working on a different style that lays flat.

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5 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It looks like a billfold here.

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6 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here are more pictures of foldable concepts before we get to the next prototype.

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7 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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9 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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10 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

TCL calls this one the One Piece, because it's made of  two pieces of glass fused together into one. Interestingly, there are no buttons and no ports.

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11 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You'd have to rely on an in-screen fingerprint reader, pin or face unlock to get in, as well as wireless charging to power it up.

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12 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Bone conduction is one way that a buttonless phone could emit sound, though TCL reminds us this is only a rough prototype -- it's something they're thinking about, but haven't solved.

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13 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The waterfall display shows off a much more elegant phone with deeply curved sides and a wraparound screen that stops at the edges.

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14 of 20 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

As with its other concept devices, see three rear cameras on this mock-up design.

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15 of 20 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Last up is the TCL Plex, which has a 6.5-inch screen and three rear cameras.

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This midrange device features tools like a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

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17 of 20 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The display can turn standard-def content into high-definition content with built-in software.

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The black and white colors also glint in the light.

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There's a programmable side key, too.

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20 of 20 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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