We got our hands on a prototype phone with a rollable display
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We got our hands on a prototype phone with a rollable display

Foldable Phones
[MUSIC] We've [UNKNOWN] Galaxy Z Flip, but I think you haven't seen a rollable phone. This is The Daily Charge. It's Wednesday, March 5th. I'm Roger Chang. I'm Eli Blumenthal. I'm so let's talk about TCL. This is a company best known for making budget televisions you probably run off to during this breakfast Super Bowl to find a TCL TV. But over the last few years, they showed off some actually interesting stuff. They actually make fun Phones, and Eli and I got a chance to check out to concept devices a working prototype, a try foldable phone and a mock up of a phone with a display that rolls in and out depending on how large you want the screen. My money. The scrollable was like to call it is the one that seemed to impress me the most just because it wasn't affordable phone, but it was a uses the same kind of concept. But what are your impressions? I mean, you got a chance to play with both of them. Yeah. So first off the preface, the scrollable slidable, whatever you want to call that orientable was not working [LAUGH]. It was a paper screen. So either plastic it felt like it was Finish it. Could be laminated paper for all I know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In theory it's supposed to be a kind of AMOLED display, that we have on. We're showing it off here on the video. It has a motor inside that as you pull it, it will actually push itself out. So you don't have to actually assert that pressure. Right. Again to be clear, this prototype did not have a motor. You had to. Physically kinda pulled. Right. Ours wasn't working at all, it was. [CROSSTALK] And it literally was super janky, cuz like it was hard to actually pull. You felt like you're gonna break this thing. It was very clearly a concept prototype. Yes, it was a concept. The foldable phone that we messed around with, the tri-fold dragon hinge. They don't really have a name for any of these things cuz they're just concepts at this point. Right. That did work. Yes, The working screen working process. They showed us a video running on it and then we were able to kind a go Into the orientation of it and it worked. And all that was great, except when you close it, that thing is like three phones stacked on top of each other and it's absolutely massive. So I don't know how they expect people to put that in their pockets. I don't think it's more of a phone. I think it's more of a tablet that just becomes more compact for putting it back. Yeah I mean I feel like this one of those let's throw a whole bunch of things against the wall. The TCL has a ton of that. Ton of it, their executive we had a chance to talk to them and they mentioned they have 36- Yeah, three- Three dozen? 3000 prototypes- Three dozen prototypes- In the works right now. In the works. For my mind, I think the scrollable one makes the most sense. We've joked on the show, actually, about a scrollable phone. Like a giant papyrus scrolling phone that you can just unfurl. And they kinda did it, but in a way that actually makes sense, right? What it- It's pocketable and at the same time- It's pocketable, it's thin. And it doesn't have- Doesn't have a crease. Doesn't have a crease, because folding just the turn radius for a rolling phone, rolling screen is not super tight. And so you're not gonna have the screen. You're not gonna have a crease issue. Right, so the question then becomes price. There are rollable displays technically on the market. LG has a TV that's- A massive one. Really, really, really expensive. Like I think the price was mid five figures, right?>> Keep in mind that's like sort of a luxury item TCL said that they're looking to price their foldables at like a 30 to 40% discount to what we see right now. At least with foldable phones right now who's the cheapest one is the Z flip. It's like 1380. Right. So You know, you can imagine somewhere to the thousand dollar range that's kind of the ballpark but we've got it Andrew here, and Hi.>> Hi. Because Louisville By the way, the only reason he's on the show is because we love him so much and he's amazing and we wanted to get him on the show. But I also wanted to get your impressions of these folks cuz You're one you're not a phone expert reviewer I'm a smart home guy Smart Home guy. You have a phone in my pocket phones you appreciate I've used phones before to like call people it was pretty good but as a normal Who's Who doesn't like live and breathe these things like what are your What are your impressions like would you want to carry around a trifle Folders open a phone. I don't think I'd want the trifold at all, I think so. Cuz, isn't the whole point to then make it more compact so that it's easier to carry around but you don't lose screen size? That seems to me to be the whole point of the trend, and the trifold- I would say the fold is pretty bulky. I mean, it's not trifold bulky, but it's a pretty bulky phone. The fold when it's closed. When it's closes, yes. And even the galaxy Fold. The Galaxy Fold is the flip galaxy 14 but it's it's Yeah, it's not a thin pocketable device like the razor right? That's like a razor the or the I mean even the new razor is pretty compact when you fold it up as soon as it's more pocketable than the fold definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So I think they're at this point they're just trying to see how many folds they can do. Like I feel like that was like a bet major at a bar right like I bet we could do to everyone's doing one. Let's do two phones. I love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation of TCL engineers [LAUGH] At some bar, they're just like playing a game like where's everyone's like playing darts or beer pong, So we've got napkins they're foldable, And apparently the answer of their concepts is 36 right now? Yes, yes. Well, we'll see if any of them have more than two folds. I'd love to see like, Three or four folds, I'd actually appreciate it if all 36 is just an increasing number of folds. [LAUGH] The last one is 36 folds, [UNKNOWN] to that, It's a three dozen foldable, Yeah, It's like an origami. Yeah. [UNKNOWN] you have to like assemble it, It looks like a little tiny microchip. And it folds up it looks like a swan when it's not in use, it's like a Exactly. Now we should mention that while these are all concepts and the crazy and insane, they actually told us they plan to have, Yes Some foldable device in the first half of 2021 on sale. Exactly. Something's coming with one of these 36 LDB Not quite right away. We know your vote is for, Yes, my vote is on the scrollable. Because I like saying scrollable. But also for me, it does make sense. It's a phone that probably makes more sense. It's normal for people to use. People are using their phones- They basically, the executive said, in terms of the response so far, the clown show, I wouldn't be surprised if they make a clown show. that seems to be- Right, that's the Galaxy Hold like no does he flip was the phone or razor yeah sorry z flip or razor like, yes I was more cow. But just in terms of like the idea like in terms of consumer perception, like they got the sense that the scrollable is gonna last Lot of buzz but also the clam shell makes the most sense for a lot of people because it's an existing design right? People are used to a clamshell they understand it. Whereas all these other ones are a little hard to embrace like the trifold is it's gonna be a tough sell for folks. Yeah, it's all gonna come down to pricing. Yeah and positioning in the US they're going to need to probably have this in stores not just have it online. Yes. And for a lot of companies when it comes to selling phones that don't have a carrier, hmm. They are selling them on Best Buy or Amazon and people can't play with them with something like a foldable, whatever form it takes, you're going to want to be able to use that And see what it's like holding your hands folded however many times as you can. Or unfurl, right? Or unfurl, yes, furlable. We don't have to fold and unfold. [BLANK_AUDIO] We're past foldables. That's passe now, it is. You wanna go back to the old days where there's scrolls. Yeah. There. It's good enough for pharaohs and knights, it's good enough for us. There we go. I kind of want an announcements to be made on like- Yes! We've been joking about that for like a year and a half. They actually made it! I was like, my god. It's actually kind of [CROSSTALK]- Hear ye, hear ye! We present- It doesn't scroll out that far. I know, I know. It goes from like 6.5 to 7.8 inches. It's really a very minimal- They can make it bigger. Could you imagine a tablet designer like a larger screen device like you get pulled out? Pretty much become a monitor? Yeah, I think Samsung when they did their initial was it their developer conference a couple years ago, they mentioned that they had ideas for stretchable displays.->> Yeah so I'd love to see the ->>companies are working on them. Why? In general with the folding with the scrolling, Yeah, why What's the use case cuz that would be to me like I'll pay more right If there's a reason other than look at what our Hard display can now do jumping jacks like I was paid money for that [CROSSTALK] For me, [CROSSTALK] But it's not doing anything Before you like why other than like, watch us contort our screen? I think that's a fantastic question. And I think that's why these, there's a lot of questions about these foldables in general because we hadn't really found applications that fully take advantage of the bigger screen beyond just the fact that you've got more real estate right like it's bigger display that folds inwards, That can be more compact, Right or it's of normal sized. Phone that folds out to a bigger display, right? In the case of the Galaxy Fold, that's what you've got. But you also had a weirdly shaped screen whose dimensions weren't really- Even? Even or- [UNKNOWN] camera cut out. Was standardized to a semantic experience. It's just sort of a big square screen, so I think that's kind of the issue is that we haven't really found a good application for but the reason is because everyone's bored with phones. Right?>> [LAUGH] Well, I think that's the other point that, you know, what's the point of this? We don't really know yet because it allows for a whole host of different form factors.>>Right.>> And it allows for people to finally start rethinking what it is to have a screen in your pocket. When for the last decade it's been basically just a slab. Yeah. Rectangular slab. A gradual progression of the original iPhone. Right, getting bigger cameras getting better. Yeah, probably the real deal. The only real innovation we've seen are like curved displays and like bigger displays and so like at some point there's going to be a cap to how big these things can be. Phones are getting funding again. Though Samsung is a I feel like they keep chipping away I just how big a phone can be. That's just I mean that's 6.9 on the intro and I can barely fit that in. I will see how the notice like, as always, if you want to learn more about today's topics, there are links to all today's stories as well as the places you can subscribe to the show in the description below. The Daily charge I'm going to see next week.

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