TCL pauses launch of its low-cost foldable smartphone

Electronics major TCL has reportedly delayed its plan to roll out a low-cost foldable phone this year.

“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,” Stefan Streit, Chief Marketing Officer of TCL, has been quoted as saying in a report.

“Although the foldable market is growing each year, it is still a premium product category,” said Streit, in a statement sent to The Verge, as per the report.

Streit stated that the TCL is “closely monitoring the market to determine the best time to launch a foldable smartphone.”

The clamshell-style foldable phone, codenamed Project Chicago, was in mid-development when the company made the decision to put it on indefinite hold. As per TCL, the delay is due in part to rising production costs and supply chain shortages.

The development 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.

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.

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