Chinese mega-brand TCL Communication is a sleeping giant, but over the past months, it has been stirring. It opened one eye to launch its television brand in the U.S., and the other eye to blink the TCL Plex smartphone into life sometime afterward. It’s even propped itself up on one elbow to give us a hint about its plan for world domination.
Now, an alarm clock is ringing, and it’s time for TCL Communication to arise. That alarm clock is 5G and the foldable revolution. This is the technology the company needed to bring everything it has worked on to center court the global stage.
Digital Trends spoke to Stefan Strait, TCL’s General Manager for Global Marketing, and Jason Gerdon, TCL’s Head of Global Communications about how
Coming to America
“The TCL Plex was a soft launch of TCL’s phone brand,” Gerdon explained, clarifying their releases at IFA 2019. “At CES, this is really the global TCL mobile brand launch in North America. More than that, it’s the coming together of TCL as an end-to-end consumer electronics brand.”
The expansion of
There are three phones — the affordable TCL 10 L, the more premium TCL 10 Pro, and the special TCL 10
It’s all part of the long-term plan. Apart from televisions, TCL Communication makes everything from toothbrushes to washing machines. “TCL makes almost every electrical product you can imagine. If it plugs into a wall or runs on a battery, it’s almost certain we make some variation of it,” Gerdon reminded us. But many of these products are only available in China at the moment. More will be available globally in the future, a shift facilitated by the TCL smartphone that’s now here. The smartphone is viewed as a “controller” device, and it was hard to launch a full TCL ecosystem of products if the controller was a licensed phone from TCL’s existing phone brands like Alcatel or BlackBerry.
“We are now turning the page, and [the phones are] pushing us to the next stage,” Gerdon said.
Smartphones give TCL control
What should we expect from the new phones? They feel great in the hand — the matte finish and striking green color of the 10 Pro make it stand out — and we’re promised each will deliver a very similar experience across the range. All three include the NxtVision technology to enhance screen performance, previously seen in the Plex.
The specifications of each model haven’t been finalized yet (finer details will come at MWC 2020) but we do know each will have a Snapdragon 700 Series 5G chip inside. Other differentiating features between them include a large battery and TCL’s first curved AMOLED screen on the 10 Pro, and the eye-catching diamond-look rear panel on the 10
TCL sees a gap in the premium mid-tier smartphone space, which refers to phones that cost around $500. Excitingly, all the 10 Series phones will cost less than this price, and that includes the
“There’s a number of things coming together right now,” Stefan Strait told us, “
TCL’s heritage and expertise in display technology link in with
Big company, major challenges
Creating and launching a series of new smartphones, including a sub-$500
While TCL doesn’t have to strike up new partnerships with U.S. carriers, having worked with them on BlackBerry, Palm, and Alcatel devices for years,
“It’s not one [
The next stage of TCL’s major 2020 smartphone push will come at MWC. Alongside the TCL 10 Series phones, other devices will be shown off — perhaps including a foldable. These won’t be just phones, but devices that are in a related category. Tablets, wearables, Internet of Things (IoT) network products, and even niche connected devices like pet trackers are all existing hardware that may evolve or reach global markets for the first time. However, we expect
“This whole process has been working in the background for years. We’ve known we will get to this point, but we’ve kept it in the background as a strategic advantage,” Gerdon explained. “
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