TCL has been showcasing its foldable smartphones during trade shows and special events for a while now. The company had earlier announced that it will launch its first commercially available foldable smartphone in 2021. While the company was apparently ready to launch its first foldable smartphone, it has backtracked on its promise and will not be launching a folding smartphone this year.
The company has sent out prototype samples of what could have been its first foldable smartphone, codenamed Chicago, to a few publications including CNET and MrMobile. The device has a similar design to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, with a few minor design tweaks.
TCL’s Chief Marketing Officer, Stefan Streit when asked about the cancellation of the launch, told CNET, “We could finish this product and bring it to the market, but this felt somehow … not right. For us, this category is really, really important. We will bring products. We will bring a number of products.”
TCL Chicago: Specifications
TCL Chicago sports a 6.67-inch foldable plastic display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Comparatively, its competitor the Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes with ultra-thin glass (UTG). The Motorola Razr also features a plastic foldable display. The outer panels are made out of plastic. CNET also noted that the display crease on the TCL was much less visible than rivals.
The Chicago shares a lot of its specifications with the Moto Razr 5G, than the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It is powered by the Snapdragon 765G paired with 6GB of RAM along with 128GB of internal storage. The device comes with a 3,545mAh battery. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 on the other hand features the flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC.
The device comes with a dual-camera setup on the back, consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor paired with a 16-megapixel ultra wide angle lens. At the front, it features a 44-megapixel selfie camera. Mr Mobile has stated that the phone’s software is currently in its prototype stages and does not function properly especially the camera features.
TCL Chicago: Expected price
While TCL has not revealed the price of the Chicago, both CNET and MrMobile stated that the device could have been priced at $800 (approximately Rs 58,820), which is around $200 cheaper than the new Galaxy Z Flip 3. But, apparently, TCL wants to bring down the price even lower, and has said that it will be launching its first foldable smartphone in the next 12 to 18 months, and it will not be the Chicago, but something better.
Another reason provided by TCL for not launching the Chicago, is that US telecom careers are currently not interested in selling foldable smartphones, instead, they want to sell 5G smartphones only.
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