Foldables schmoldables: meet the world's first (concept) phone with a slide-out screen

Foldables schmoldables: meet the world's first (concept) phone with a slide-out screen
While everyone seems to agree foldable devices are the future, invigorating an industry that's been suffering from a distinct lack of innovation in recent years, it's also hard to overlook the glaring flaws, weaknesses, and compromises of otherwise groundbreaking products like Samsung's Galaxy Fold and Z Flip or the reinvented Motorola Razr.

Bottom line, current foldable designs are arguably not ready for primetime, laying the groundwork for what's to come while essentially allowing their manufacturers to run tests on audacious (and wealthy) early adopters. But what if there was another way to seamlessly expand a handset's screen real estate without actually having to bend said screen? No, we're not talking about LG's rudimentary Dual Screen solution involving a cheap case for "unlocking the ultimate multitasking mobile experience."

Instead, it appears that TCL is preparing to showcase a mystery phone with... a slide-out screen. That sounds crazy enough it just might work, while looking gorgeous in a bunch of renders obtained by CNET alongside inside information suggesting this futuristic product was supposed to see daylight at the 2020 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona before the trade fair was cancelled.

Of course, TCL is still likely to unveil its answer to "conventional" foldable smartphones in the near future, although it's probably wise not to expect this thing in stores anytime soon. CNET repeatedly refers to the product as a concept, and the company that's been handling BlackBerry-branded releases for the last few years has a history of showing off cool stuff without actually going through with development and mass production.

In theory, a handset with a slide-out screen allowing it to quickly morph into a tablet sounds like a great idea, eliminating the need for strong foldable glass that doomed the Galaxy Fold in its original iteration, generating so much controversy around the Galaxy Z Flip now. Then again, if slide-out and pop-up cameras have taught us anything, it's that even the smallest moving part can negatively impact a phone's durability. Now imagine how easy it would be to damage a full slide-out screen mechanism.

Pragmatism aside, it's definitely hard to look away from these renders flaunting a design possibly based on the TCL 10 Pro, but with two screens that can become one, each featuring its own back panel, one of which comes with four vertically aligned shooters and two front-facing cameras housed by a Galaxy S10 Plus-style cutout. The part of the display that can slide in and out to help you switch between phone and tablet "modes" is thinner than the other, which looks a little odd but seems pretty much obligatory for the whole "hiding out of sight" trick to work.

What do you guys think? Could this dreamy concept become commercial reality anytime soon? Would you prefer it over today's foldables? 

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