More screen, less space-- this is the driving force behind the smartphone manufacturers' quest to make phones with foldable screens. Samsung's Galaxy Fold came with a tablet design that folds in half to fit in your pocket, whereas the new Motorola Razr and Galaxy Z Flip are standard size smartphones that fold to become extremely compact.
However, since all these foldable form factors are facing their fair share of troubles, one would ask, are the foldable phones our only option to achieve the end result? Apparently not. Chinese smartphone manufacturer TCL has come out with a workaround to fit more screen in a normal-sized phone with a slide-out screen.
According to a report by CNET, TCL is working on a smartphone that features an expandable screen that can be pulled out from the side to make a tablet. The publication also posted render images of the sliding door phone from TCL showing a 360-degree view of the device.
The pictures show the TCL phone using one continuous display with curved screens on both the sides-- resembling the Galaxy S10 or its own TCL 10 Pro. The device sports a dual-front facing camera setup placed in a hole-punch towards the top right corner and a quad-camera setup at the back aligned vertically just behind it.
There's a break in the chassis towards the right. The surplus display is exposed when the part with the camera array is pulled like the traditional Japanese-style sliding door to reveal the surplus screen.
It is unclear at the moment how the mechanism will work but the only possible explanation that comes to mind is that one portion of the flexible display bends behind the other inside the phone's body. When the chassis is pulled, the flexible part comes out to make a tablet.
The CNET report also mentions that TCL's expandable phone would have been showcased at the Mobile World Congress that was cancelled due to the concerns regarding the global spread of coronavirus. It might be too soon to comment on the TCL's sliding screen phone but the concept sure looks promising.