TCL shelves its Galaxy Z Flip 3 challenger until it can bring prices down

Tcl Foldable Phone
Tcl Foldable Phone (Image credit: TCL)

What you need to know

  • TCL has indefinitely put its foldable phone project on hold.
  • The company's decision is due to the high cost of producing a folding device, among other factors.
  • TCL still plans to launch a foldable in the future when it can produce it at a low cost.
  • In the meantime, it will focus on 5G initiatives.

TCL has confirmed that it will no longer launch what would have been its first commercially available foldable phone, codenamed "Chicago." The device would have been the company's take on some of the best foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

In a statement to Android Central, TCL says it has put its foldable phone on indefinite hold due to rising production costs, among other reasons. Stefan Streit, the company's chief marketing officer, explained:

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.

Streit also noted TCL's huge investments in research and development for new display technologies. Last year, it showcased concept devices, including a foldable phone, bifold tablet, and another with a rollable extending screen.

TCL was apparently still in the midst of developing the device and had produced a prototype model that a few people got their hands on, including MrMobile himself:

When unfolded, the prototype sported a 6.67-inch FullHD+ AMOLED display and a 1.1-inch AMOLED cover screen in its folded form. The cover display would have shown the time and date, quick access to the flashlight, and audio settings.

Under the hood, the phone would have been powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The rear camera had a 48MP main sensor and a 16MP ultra-wide angle shooter along with a 44MP selfie snapper. It also packed a 3,545mAh battery with support for Qualcomm's 18W Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

That said, TCL isn't throwing in the towel entirely. Streit said TCL is still "investing in flexible display technologies and is closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to launch a foldable smartphone."

For now, TCL will focus on its 5G initiative meant to push the next-gen connectivity to various smartphones across different price points. Though, there's no word on when TCL will introduce its first foldable device to the market.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Render Flex Crop

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 adds a redesigned cover display, water resistance, and the spec bump required for app bouncing, but the Z Flip 3's most appealing features remain its low price and stylish design, which comes in seven colors.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.