TCL had been touting that it would debut a Foldable device before the end of 2021, but it looks like that won’t be happening. As its foldable device has been put on an indefinite hold. That is pretty disappointing for the foldable industry, but it’s better to spend more time perfecting the device rather than releasing a prototype.
According to CNET’s report, TCL’s chief marketing officer, Stefan Streit has said that they won’t launch a foldable for 12-18 months. And it won’t be the device that we’ve seen in prototypes at recent trade shows, but a revamped product.
TCL has decided to cancel its introduction of the first foldable phone because of several “commercial” factors. This includes weakness of its brand, expensive components and the pandemic. Not to mention the lack of carrier support. As of right now, very few TCL smartphones are sold by carriers – mainly only prepaid carriers.
This decision was made prior to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 announcement.
TCL confirms that the project is on hold
TCL has confirmed that the project is on hold, and has released the following statement in regards to the Chicago project – which was set to be their first foldable device.
“As one of the world’s largest display and smartphone manufacturers, TCL has spent decades developing products that deliver high-end technologies at affordable price points. In recent years, TCL has invested billions of dollars into the research and development of new and upcoming display technologies, including flexible displays and foldable smartphones.
Although the foldable market is growing each year, it is still a premium product category. In combination with recent component shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs in foldable production, TCL has made the difficult decision to suspend the launch of its first commercially available foldable smartphone until the company can produce and bring it to market at a price point that’s accessible to as many consumers as possible.
TCL remains committed to investing in flexible display technologies and is closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to launch a foldable smartphone. In the meantime, we continue to focus on our “5G for All” initiative introduced at Mobile World Congress 2021, in which we work with carriers around the world to deliver 5G solutions to all consumers across a variety of price points and product categories.”
This is bad news for TCL, but it’s making the right choice here. It does mean that Samsung is likely to pick up even more market share in the meantime. Which is going to be tough to take away from Samsung. But only the future will tell.
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