Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
ExpertiseContent strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
If you thought the phone space was competitive enough, get ready for a new kid on the block.
, the company behind some excellent value TVs, is ramping up to be the next big name in 5G and foldable phones. At the IFA tech show here in Berlin this week, the brand launched the TCL Plex, the first phone of many that TCL hints could be released in 2019 and beyond, including 5G and foldable phones.
But although the China-based brand is a new label for
, the company itself has a long history selling devices under the Alcatel name. TCL also licenses the rights to market BlackBerry devices and even the diminutive, resurrected Palm. So why the shift? TCL is trying its hand at being an integrated consumer electronics company like
that can build brand-name value for everything from phones to
devices and beyond.
"For us, this is more a brand launch than a product launch," said Stefan Streit, who heads TCL's global marketing efforts. "We're not just in a rush to pump out something ... We're going to go step by step."
Watch this: First TCL phone: 48-megapixel camera for under $400
The first step, the TCL Plex, is a midrange handset for Europe and Asia that will sell in October for 329 euros (about $360, £295 or AU$530 converted), less than half the price of a premium phone. It brings with it sought-after features such as a large, 6.5-inch screen and three rear cameras, including a main 48-megapixel shooter. The screen also performs a neat trick by turning standard-definition content, like videos, into high-definition images using some software built into the phone.
And there's a customizable side key that you can program to do things like launch
, take a selfie, open your favorite app or do nothing at all. (See more specs below.)
While the Plex itself is squarely intended for budget-minded buyers, TCL made it clear that it's got its eye on more ambitious designs. The company also showed off prototypes for foldable phones, a curved dual-screen phone with a "waterfall display" that wraps around the sides and a concept device with no buttons at all. Earlier this year, we also saw a mock-up of a phone that bends back into a smartwatch. 2020 could be an interesting year for TCL phones.
TCL gets serious about phones that shine, fold and go edge-to-edge