2019 was the year that foldable phones got their start, but 2020 could be the year that they finally take off.
There are a ton of foldable concept phones like this one from TCL.
This phone here is a working prototype.
It's got about a 7.2 inch screen.
Fold in half like a wallet or a billfold.
Now TCL is a brand that's kind of new to phones but you may recognize them from their TVs.
The goal of this company is to bring affordable products that work to you.
So what we're looking at here definitely isn't going to be a $2,000 device like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
It'll be something much more affordable, so a lot more people can access it and get their hands on this new style of design.
Like all foldable phones that are on the market today, You do have a plastic screen, so on the inside of the device so that it's a little bit more protected.
So if you drop this in your purse or your bag, that screen on the inside again plastic is very delicate.
It's not going to be as damaged.
You're still need to be careful when you're using the device though.
You don't wanna scrape your ring or keys or any other sharp object against it.
And that's just sort of where we are with foldable phones right now.
There is a bit of a thick bezel around this display, but to me it might actually be an okay thing because if you are gonna be holding it using if for multimedia, streaming videos, reading online, you do want to have something to grip it with.
You don't necessarily want to hold it by the screen.
Because you don't want to apply even more pressure to this plastic display.
There's no front facing camera on the inside of this prototype device.
But we do have four cameras on the back including a 48 megapixel main camera lens.
There will also be a macro telephoto lens and a wide angle lens.
I think the design here is really interesting.
It is fairly thick.
But also pretty sturdy.
I love this emerald green color here.
And it kind of has these lines, and they're slightly raised so it has this sort of diamond cut pattern that looks pretty cool.
You do have a hinge here on the edge that is reminiscent of the Galaxy Fold, and I'm looking at the hinge on the inside too.
There's a tiny bit of a gap.
Again, this is a working prototype.
It might not look like this when it actually comes out to Market.
But the hinge is a matter of extreme importance for any company that is making a foldable device of any kind, because there's this little bit of a gap.
that gap could mean that something could work its way and get under the screen and damage it.
There's also the hinge itself and something Is exposed and potentially it could get caught in there like hair or thread or some other kind of object.
So this kind of design by moving does expose a device to more chances of getting broken.
I'm also noticing on this particular prototype that it kind of squeaks when I open it I don't think I've ever heard a foldable device do that.
But again, this is something that TCL will probably work the kinks out on when this device comes to market.
And when is it coming to market?
We don't know yet.
Maybe we'll learn a little bit more around Mobile World Congress, which is the largest phone event of the year.
And that will take place at the end of February.
We know that TCL isn't in a rush but is investing in foldable phones.
There are at least 12 foldable devices not just phones that the company is working on either from the conception stage all the way through working prototype.
So this is something that they're very interested in.
But the company wants to make sure that the devices actually work, that the software makes sense that all these kinks are worked out before they bring one to market.
So hopefully that will be sometime in 2020.
It could be even later than that, but I think that we could probably say that it will be very close to the end of the year.
One other thing I want to point out about the design here is that there is a USBC charger port, but there is no headphone jack.
That's not something that we've seen in other foldable design, so it's not very unusual.
But for a lot of people who use their wired headphones, it would be nice to have, of course, I've been showing it to you in one orientation.
But it does go into a portrait mode as well.
So you have some flexibility.
Right now the screen doesn't want to rotate, but you do have some flexibility on how you hold the device.
And that's kind of a cool thing with the shape.
So you can imagine even it stands on its own, which is something that you don't see in a lot of these.
So you can imagine even looking at the screen as it's been and then typing.
As always, I'm really interested in the kind of developments that foldable is making If this is gonna be the future of how we use our phones, the more companies that get involved, the better.
So we're here at C E S, checking out this T C L foldable phone concept, a working prototype.
Be sure to check in with CNet for all of the C E S news.
Definitely subscribe to our channel, and we'll catch you soon.