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Weird flex: TCL shows off two more of its rollable, extendable display concepts

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They’re fun, but far from ready for primetime

One of TCL’s many display concept prototypes.
Photo: TCL

TCL has never been shy about showcasing its display concepts at trade shows, and this year is no different; the company is (virtually) showing off a couple of these prototypes at CES 2021. Bearing in mind that there’s absolutely no guarantee these concepts will ever reach market, they’re still a fun glimpse at a possible future of display tech. First up is a mobile device with an AMOLED “rollable” screen which can extend a 6.7-inch display up to 7.8 inches. TCL says the device is less than 10mm thick with a 3mm bend radius.

TCL calls this a rollable display, though there’s no outwardly obvious rolling action.

A similar concept appears in one of the more unintentionally funny promotional videos we’ve seen at CES so far this year. It’s an extendable display concept that unrolls on two sides, like a scroll, or an “I’m Gonna Steal the Declaration of Independence,” which is a technical term.

TCL says the screen itself is also thinner at just 0.18mm thick. The company tries to drive home the space-saving advantages of this concept with a video of a hiker pulling it out of a bag on the trail. Unfortunately, it looks about as authentic as our favorite folding gadgets of sci-fi do.

TCL does appear to have a working prototype version of this technology, though it’s smaller and not quite as robust-looking as the hiker video would suggest. And while the company says it will bring a foldable / flexible product to market this year, we’d put our money on a regular ol’ folding phone — it’s been working on one for a while now — rather than one of these concepts.