TCL's leaked 12 month roadmap culminates in the unveiling next year of its first foldable device

TCL's leaked 12 month roadmap culminates in the unveiling next year of its first foldable device
Are you familiar with Chinese manufacturer TCL? Perhaps you know the company because of the televisions it sells in North America. During the first quarter of this year, TCL was the top television set manufacturer in the U.S. But the company also turns out smartphones, some of which you might know because of the brand names it licenses and sells phones under. Well, there is BlackBerry Mobile for starters. Yes, that's right. TCL is responsible for models like the BlackBerry KEYone, BlackBerry Motion, BlackBerry Key2, and BlackBerry KEY2 LE. TCL also makes phones under the Alcatel name which it licenses from Nokia.

Thanks to a pair of tweets published this morning by tipster Evan Blass, we have a good idea what the company is cooking up in its smartphone kitchen for the rest of this year and into next year. The first handset found on the roadmap will be unveiled at IFA next month and will be called the T1. The latter will be equipped with a 6.53-inch FHD+ display. Thanks to what TCL calls the "Dotch" (which is really nothing more than a punch-hole selfie camera), the phone has a 90% screen-to-body ratio. Under the hood, you'll find the Snapdragon 675 Mobile Platform. The T1 will carry 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. A triple camera setup (48MP primary + 16MP ultra-wide with a 123-degree field of view + 2MP) is on the back. The front-facing punch-hole camera weighs in at 24MP. A 3820mAh capacity battery keeps the lights on and the phone supports 18W fast charging. There is a fingerprint scanner (seemingly in-display) and Android 9 Pie is pre-installed with an update to Android Q in the works. The roadmap shows a price for the T1 under 399 EUR ($442.59 USD at current rates).

TCL will unveil a foldable device called the FLEXTAB during the third quarter of 2020

By the middle of the first quarter next year, TCL will introduce the T1 Pro with a curved AMOLED screen and four cameras on the back (perhaps a telephoto camera with optical zoom capabilities will be added). Pricing will be less than 499 EUR ($553.52 USD). Late in the second quarter of next year, 5G capable versions of the T1 and T1 Pro will be unveiled priced at approximately 549 EUR ($609 USD) and over 599 EUR ($665 USD) respectively. And by the time the third quarter rolls around next year, TCL is expected to announce its piece de resistance. That would be the TCL FLEXTAB with a flexible AMOLED panel. Whether this is a foldable phone or tablet, it will be priced above 1,299 EUR ($1,451 USD). That means that the foldable could come in under the $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and the $2,600 (based on exchange rates) Huawei Mate X.

Note that the roadmap, which goes up until the end of the third quarter next year, doesn't give us any indication about the possibility of TCL pushing out a BlackBerry KEY3 later this year or three-quarters of the way through 2020. But those of you out there who love physical QWERTY keyboards shouldn't panic. That might be because the roadmap doesn't appear to include licensed brands. TCL could also be holding out, waiting for 5G to become more widespread so that it can release a 5G enabled BlackBerry KEY3. We could also see a 5G all-touch BlackBerry handset on the horizon as well. While certainly niche devices, the KEY2, and KEY2 LE have proved to be popular among those consumers who need a physical QWERTY keyboard to be productive.

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