There are big changes happening behind the scenes for TCL as it finally ends its partnership with Blackberry. The company attempted to bring the iconic brand back into the mainstream with the help of Android but failed to establish a firm foothold. The Chinese manufacturer seems to be a familiar brand when it comes to affordable modern televisions, but at CES 2020 it reminded consumers that smartphones are also in its catalogue. Now, a leak reveals that it might be working on a handset with a slide-out mechanism the expands its display.

While the concept of a mobile phone that can turn into a tablet is not new, TCL explores a unique approach. With the exception of the new Razr and Galaxy Z Flip, most of the foldable models available right now essentially tout a similar feature. However, these rely on a folding motion delivered by proprietary hinge mechanisms to accomplish the transformation.

TCL, on the other hand, takes advantage of the flexible display technology's properties to craft an entirely different functionality. Instead of folding the touchscreen, which can eventually damage the plastic film, this device takes advantage of the material's rollable nature. The tech industry has already seen these applied on huge TVs that can be stored in smaller enclosures and just roll out to expand into its full viewing size.

According to CNet, the company was likely slated to present this at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Unfortunately, due to the health risks brought about by the continuing Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, the majority of its exhibitors made the decision to drop out. Ultimately, the organisers confirmed that the event would be cancelled for 2020.

Images of the aforementioned device show a smartphone with aggressively curved edges much like the Huawei Mate 30 series. This gives the impression that there are non-existent bezels on each side. The secondary camera is set within a hole-punch cutout while the main ones are housed behind the section that slides out.

TCL foldable phone
TCL foldable phone. Credit: YouTube/CNET

The mechanism is yet to be explained in detail, but the renders suggest that the thicker segment houses the rest of the flexible display. An official announcement from TCL could be coming soon, but for now, everything is purely speculation based on the images that were leaked.