TCL has been talking about foldable phones for quite a while now, but it’s just like the decision to launch a foldable device before the top of 2021 won’t be realized. TCL has revealed that it’s cancelled the clamshell foldable codenamed the Chicago Project for various reasons. However, the great news is that TCL’s foldable ambitions aren’t dying with the Chicago Project.
TCL revealed that Chicago had been cancelled in an interview with CNET. This decision comes albeit TCL was ready to ship CNET a functioning prototype of the device. TCL originally planned to launch Chicago within the fourth quarter of 2021, which is quickly approaching, but now CNET says it won’t launch its first foldable for an additional 12 to 18 months.
According to CNET, that first foldable will be a “revamped product,” so it seems like this is often the top of the road for the Chicago Project. So why is TCL cancelling its Chicago foldable when it’s already so on the brink of the finish line? There are many reasons, but it seems like TCL wants to first and foremost allow the foldable market to mature a touch more before venturing in.
Chatting with CNET, TCL chief marketing officer Stefan Streit suggested that Chicago’s $800 price point is just too on the brink of the $1,000 Samsung is charging for the Z Flip 3 and side-by-side photos show there are several similarities between the two devices. “If somebody can spend $800, he also can spend $1,000,” Streit said. “Probably, he will choose the brand he knows for several years and trusts more,” Streit continued, alluding to the very fact that TCL as a brand may be a relative newcomer within the smartphone space compared to other companies like Samsung.
There’s also the worldwide parts shortage to thank for this decision, which should come as little surprise since that’s put the squeeze on many companies. It seems that TCL is confident that it can’t achieve launching a lower-priced foldable immediately but that it can in another year or year-and-a-half.
The Chicago prototype that CNET received seems like a reasonably capable device, but it also manages to come short of its closest competitor. The phone was slated to possess a 6.67-inch AMOLED interior display, 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 765G SoC, and a Sony IMX582 48MP main camera paired with a 16MP ultra-wide camera on the rear. We’ll allow you to know when TCL reveals details about the revamped foldable it plans to launch in late 2022 or early 2023, but as long as the timeline, it’s likely to be a short time before TCL is prepared to speak specifics.