TCL could be working on as many as five foldable devices. (Source: TCL/CNET)

A report from CNET mentions that TCL Corporation could be busy working on up to five different foldable devices. It seems two of the devices are tablets, two are smartphones, and one appears to be a combination of a smartphone, smartwatch, and bracelet. The Chinese company is apparently planning to release a foldable device in 2020.

by Daniel R Deakin, 2019/02/17

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CNET has managed to get hold of some renders and patents regarding possible planned devices coming from the consumer electronics company TCL. The Chinese firm is already involved in the smartphone/mobile device business, counting BlackBerry Mobile and Palm as its subsidiaries, and it has a licensing deal for Alcatel Mobile (owned by Nokia). According to CNET’s information, TCL is looking at proposals for five different folding devices.

The first two devices in the above render seem to be tablet-sized and simply offer two regular folding mechanisms: Either folding inwards or outwards. The next two rendered products are clearly smartphones, with one folding vertically inwards and the other folding vertically outwards. It’s the last device in the image that seems to be the most striking.

The device is bent in a clear manner to show it should be worn like a bracelet. It’s difficult to discern whether it is a smart bracelet that looks like a smartphone, or a smartphone that can be folded in a manner to function like a smartwatch. CNET also includes a patent drawing in its report that shows the smartphone folded into a smartwatch form. It’s unknown if it would function like a slap bracelet or if the user would have to carefully fold the device around their wrist.

Of course, there’s always the chance none of these folding devices will ever see the light of day, although a TCL executive has supposedly stated that the company will release something foldable in 2020. With Xiaomi recently acquiring a stake in TCL, it seems possible the innovative former company may have a hand in whatever foldable product the latter firm eventually produces.

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