TCL might seem like it’s new to the mobile game, but the company has big plans, and one of them could just change the way you view the world.
While it’s easy to get excited about the new and exciting technology coming your way in the immediate future, often it’s the stuff coming well after that which is worth the real excitement. More often than not, it’s the stuff of science fiction with no real date or use case, beyond a mere announcement, because that signals the real “what’s coming” outside of yet another product update.
In some cases, it’s a patent suggesting what might be on the way, while other times, it’s an outright announcement of just what a company has been working on.
Over at the virtual IFA 2020, it’s more of the latter for TCL, as the company talks up more than earphones and tablets, with a look at what its screens could be doing in the future, with a few new technologies that could make using phones and tablets less like the screens we use now and more comfortable long term.
That could start with a technology TCL calls “Nxtpaper”, which is a reflective screen that will repurpose natural light to result in an LCD that’s easier on the eyes and more power efficient.
It’s a technology comes off the back of two years of research and design with 11 parents for eye protection, and provides a screen that is more paper-like, but with higher colour and brightness, and no flicker or blue light.
In the past few years, screen makers have cottoned onto research about blue light from LCD screens, and how it has the potential to harm. Some combat the idea by introducing warmer tones such as orange and red during the later hours to prevent eye strain, but solving the problem in screens is the likely end game for most display makers, and with Nxtpaper, TCL is suggesting it may have the answer. Similar to the e-ink used on eBook readers including the Amazon Kindle, TCL’s Nxtpaper aims to provide a more natural experience without blue light concerns.
And it’s just one of the ideas TCL is playing with for the coming years.
“We dare to do different things no one else does,” said TCL’s Stefan Streit, General Manager of Global Marketing at TCL.
Foldables are a part of this, and is an area the company is looking at, possibly with the help of fashion designers, he told Pickr.
“We’re looking into this space,” he said, advising that “it depends on the product”.
“The future of the smartwatch might be a narrow flexible display,” suggested Streit, adding “of course, this has other challenges. The bending is not difficult to do.
“We can create new products,” he suggested, noting the company is investigating products not yet been thought up.
These could include some of TCL’s research, such as a rollable display technology that allows a screen to bend, or a waterfall display the wraps around the edges of a phone completely.
There’s even a set of glasses made from translucent screens in something TCL calls “Project Archery”, which may or may not be a form of smart glasses from TCL, but is clearly in the distance for the company.
“We’re not in a rush to bring these foldable products to market right now,” said Streit.
“In TCL style, we want to bring this [technology] to affordable segments,” he said.
For the moment, that means these cool ideas might be a fair way in the distance, at least until TCL can bring the cost down significantly. Whether that means they pop up in a phone or tablet in the next five years remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure, they are coming soon. Eventually, eventually.