Forget foldable phones. Large rollable displays are the way to go

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The Galaxy Fold blew people away when Samsung showed off the device a year ago. A few days after that, Huawei added fuel to the fire with the crowd-stopping Mate X. The age of foldable phones was upon us. This year, with the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr out, there's a modest level of interest in foldable, but not the rabid curiosity of a year ago. Are foldable -- gasp -- already passe?

Yes, yes they are. And that's because there's already something else on the horizon: rollable or, as I like to call them, scrollable phones.
Scrolls. If they're good enough for pharaohs and knights, they're good enough for us. At least that's what I used to joke about after seeing LG's rollup OLED TV and musing about whether the technology would find its way into a more compact form.
TCL, a company best known for making budget-friendly big-screen televisions, actually did it, and in a way that makes perfect sense. Though foldable phones have been pitched as the future of how all our phones will look and operate, the idea of a rolling display that unfurls and enlarges could prove to be an alternative vision of our future handset.
After leaked images obtained by CNET gave people a look at the concept device, TCL made it official by showing off a dummy prototype of the scrollable (or slidable) device to media earlier this week. The scrollable made its appearance alongside a working model of the trifold concept TCL showed off last year, which my colleague Eli Blumenthal got to try.
I had a chance to play with the scrollable, sliding the display in and out. When you initially hold the phone, it looks fairly normal, but there's a break in the phone's frame, near the right edge, that lets you pull out the screen and extend it to twice the normal width.
It's a normal 6.75-inch display when closed, but it extends to 7.8 inches when opened.
The effect is remarkable when you give it a quick glance as if the screen is stretching like taffy while you pull it. Take a closer look, though, and you see the excess flexible display rollout of the left side. When closed, the rest of the screen is rolled up into the back of the display.

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