TCL delays release of its low-cost foldable smartphone
Electronics company TCL has paused its plans to release a low-cost foldable phone this year, the company confirmed recently.
In a statement sent to The Verge on email, Stefan Streit, chief marketing officer of TCL said, "Although the foldable market is growing each year, it is still a premium product category."
He added, "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 added that the company is "closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to launch a foldable smartphone."
TCL's clamshell-style foldable phone, codenamed Project Chicago, was in mid-development when the company made the decision to put it on indefinite hold. According to TCL, the delay is due in part to rising production costs and supply chain shortages.
The news of delay comes a few weeks after the launch of Samsung's latest foldable devices, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. TCL had decided to pause its Chicago device before Samsung's launch.
Both of the foldable Samsung phones are on the higher end of the price range; the Flip 3 goes for USD 999, and the Fold 3 is priced at USD 1,799.
TCL had shown off a few foldable prototypes the previous year, and again earlier this year at CES 2021, as well as a "rollable" screen design. In April, TCL showed off a Fold 'n Roll device that could expand from a 6.87-inch phone screen to become an 8.85-inch phablet or a 10-inch tablet size.
As per The Verge, the company has said it's not giving up on the foldable product category but doesn't have a time frame for when its first foldable device may become commercially available.