At CES 2022, China’s TCL showcased the Flex V foldable smartphone. The device offers a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 design and mid-range chipset, but its main feature is its $ 600 price tag, making it the most affordable flexible OLED clamshell on the market.
TCL Flex V is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, which was the most popular processor in mid-range smartphones in 2020. The device has a dual main camera that combines 48-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensors. A 44-megapixel sensor is used as a selfie module. The TCL Flex V is made in the same form factor as the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, but when folded, the gap between the halves is not so noticeable, which has a positive effect on aesthetics.
As for the main screen, we only know that the foldable panel has an aspect ratio of 22:9 and a resolution of 1080 × 2400 pixels. The refresh rate has not been disclosed, but you can hardly expect a 120Hz LTPO panel from a foldable smartphone in this price range.
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A 3545 mAh battery will be responsible for autonomy. The sample shown at CES 2022 runs Android 11, however the final version will likely ship with Android 12.
TCL has not yet revealed the timing of the new product on the market, but promises that it will be the most affordable of the foldable smartphones.
Foldable Smartphone Shipments to Grow 10x by 2023
According to Counterpoint Research’s latest Foldable Smartphone Shipment Forecast; the shipments for 2021 will remain in single digit, at around 9 million units. However, it will still be a 3x growth over 2020; with Samsung dominating with over 88% market share. By 2023, we expect a 10x growth in foldable smartphone shipments. Even with more OEMs entering the foldable smartphone space, we expect Samsung to continue dominating with nearly 75% market share. If Apple is on track to release its foldable smartphone by 2023, it will not only be an inflection point in taking foldables mainstream; but also improve the component yield and scale for the entire supply chain.
The upcoming Samsung Galaxy foldables are highly anticipated smartphones as they are expected to bring major improvements over their predecessors. “With a significant price drop, improved design, and appearance; Samsung is likely to target younger customers with the new foldable Flip smartphone. The new Galaxy Z models will get S Pen support too; which can help absorb existing Note users,” said Senior Analyst Jene Park, who leads the foldables research at Counterpoint.
The premium smartphone market in China will be particularly interesting for Samsung. So, “Despite having a negligible market share, Samsung can secure Huawei’s vacant spot; and its success can contribute towards total shipment and sales volumes for its new foldables,” Park added.