TCL slides into the foldables game with a transforming tablet phone

TCL Sliding Phone Leak
TCL Sliding Phone Leak (Image credit: CNET)

What you need to know

  • A leaked TCL concept device utilizes a sliding mechanism to transform the screen from a phone to a tablet-sized device.
  • TCL was reportedly going to debut this at MWC 2020.
  • This TCL slider concept seems to be a flagship phone, while other TCL folding models are more budget-friendly.

Remember when Android smartphones had a keyboard that slid out from the underside of the phone? That smartphone form factor looks to be making a comeback if TCL has anything to say about it. According to CNET, TCL is developing a smartphone with a screen that slides out, transforming a normal-looking Android phone into a tablet with slide instead of a flip. This phone-to-tablet concept isn't new, but it could be far more useful than the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate X.

This TCL concept slider looks impressively like a "normal" smartphone with a waterfall display, which means the display wraps over the left and right sides of the phone. There's certainly a similarity to be drawn to the Huawei P30 Pro while the phone is closed but, once slid open, it looks a lot more like a Huawei Mate X. Impressively, CNET says that the folded display is actually one large piece utilizing a flexible OLED panel, which means the display folds into itself when closing. How that's going to affect durability over time is anyone's best guess.

TCL Sliding Phone Leak

Source: CNET (Image credit: Source: CNET)

You'll also note that this phone has the proper number of cameras for a flagship device, unlike some folding phones we've seen recently. That's a total of two on the front in the form of a dual punch-hole in the display, a la the Galaxy S10 Plus, as well as four cameras around back that are arranged vertically and aligned to the upper-left corner of the phone. Given that this is just a render, we're unsure if the display features a crease in the same way that other foldables on the market do.

Sources say that this phone was to be shown off at the canceled MWC 2020 show this month, which makes sense since we saw their first foldable concept phones at last year's MWC. Whether or not we'll get another opportunity to get a more hands-on look at the phone remains to be seen, but these leaked renders show an incredibly sleek device that, so far, only horizontally-folding phones like the Motorola RAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip are able to match in the looks department.

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Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu