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

TCL isn’t giving up on the foldable phone segment yet.

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 said 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.

The company diclosed that it made the decision to suspend its foldable device even before the Galaxy Z Flip 3 debuted. TCL also said it was in the middle of developing Chicago at the time it shelved the project, so nothing was final yet.

It received a total of four pre-production units for an early hands-on experience. A couple of reviewers got the chance to get their hands on the device before it was canceled.

The prototype sported a 6.67-inch FullHD+ AMOLED display when unfolded 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. There’s no word, though, on when TCL will introduce its first foldable device to the market.

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