With TCL’s foldable phone now on indefinite hold, can anyone challenge Samsung?

Samsung may have already won the foldable game before the race has even started. TCL has just confirmed that its first foldable smartphone has been indefinitely postponed. The device, code-named Project Chicago, was supposed to be TCL’s first foray into the foldable smartphone world. Instead, in a statement to the press, TCL said it will be postponing the project indefinitely, citing component shortages and rising costs in foldable production.

“Although the foldable market is growing each year, it is still a premium product category. In combination with recent component shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising costs in foldable production, TCL has made the difficult decision to suspend the launch of its first commercially available foldable smartphone until the company can produce and bring it to market at a price point that’s accessible to as many consumers as possible,” said Stefan Streit, TCL’s marketing chief, in a statement to the press.

Last year, TCL launched its TCL 10 Series of smartphones aimed at bringing the smartphone world to consumers for a fraction of the cost of most devices. Project Chicago would have been its first foldable smartphone and was in development before the project was shelved.

Samsung Galazy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3.

While it’s unclear when TCL will release a foldable smartphone, the decision to build one was made before Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, which we reviewed and praised as the best foldable phone for most consumers. We similarly liked the Z Fold 3 for its design and durability refinements and focus on productivity and multitasking.

Where does that leave the rest of the foldable market? It’s currently completely dominated by Samsung, with no rivals in sight. There are some rumors about a prospective Pixel Fold, but Google hardly has the best track record when it comes to cutting-edge hardware, though that could be set to change with the new Tensor chipset. But until then, folding phones will continue to be a Samsung-dominated market for the foreseeable future.

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