TCL Communication expressed confidence there is space in the market for its own-brand smartphone alongside its Alcatel and BlackBerry-branded devices, as it prepared to release the model, named Plex, in 12 markets next week.

Speaking to media in London yesterday (2 October), TCL Communication’s general manager of global marketing Stefan Streit (pictured, centre), ruled out the possibility of phasing out the Alcatel and BlackBerry brands: “This is a long term strategy for TCL: we’re not here for short term success.”

“The first step for us is TCL Plex, this will not replace Alcatel and BlackBerry or Palm. TCL will sit above those brands and focus on the mid-tier segment”.

Head of global communications and strategy Jason Gerdon (pictured, right) added: “BlackBerry and Palm have their unique use cases. Alcatel sits in the entry point of the market and then there’s a lot of space above that we did not address, that’s where TCL sits.”

“We’re not going to drop Alcatel as it’s a very strong brand in the segment we’re trying to approach in Europe, the €150 price point. It’s a strong brand for our operator and retail partners so we don’t want to give that up. But we also needed something more premium to address market places we are not in”.

The Plex’s 6.53-inch display has its own dedicated chipset that turns standard dynamic range content to high dynamic range which shows more true colour tones. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 675 processor, 6GB RAM and 3,820mAh battery.

It runs a triple camera set up hosting 48MP, 16MP and 2MP on the main camera. TCL claimed the main camera is unique by being able to shoot HD videos in low light with great clarity.

Foldable and smart glasses
TCL also showcased its prototype foldable smartphone, which folds down the middle with a patented Butterfly Hinge, and glasses wearable smartphone accessory Project Archery.

The foldable phone is operational with a working camera but remains in the prototype stage. It is scheduled for release next year, as is a 5G smartphone.

The Project Archery wearable attaches to the USB Type-C connector on the Plex to have the screen displayed through the glasses lens.

Gerdon pledged TCL products will strive to be more affordable than rivals, stating inflated prices are due to mainly brand perception instead of technological quality.

“We have the ethos of affordable innovation. It’s affordable within context so it depends on the product. Some 5G products are $1,000; we will aim to be below this.

“The benchmark for foldable is between $2,000 to $2,500, we can be less than that. We are exploring right now and seeing what makes sense to consumers. It’s the wild west right now, particularly for foldable phones.”

TCL launched a slew of new smartphones at IFA last month where it first showcased the Plex.