LIVE FROM CES 2020, LAS VEGAS: TCL Communication stepped out with its first 5G smartphone this week, previewing it as one of a trio of new flagship handsets set to launch in Q2 as the company expands its own-brand portfolio.

Though further information about the new devices won’t be released until MWC Barcelona 2020 in February, the company said the TCL 10 5G (pictured, left), 10 Pro (centre) and 10L (right) will all be priced under $500, and feature four rear cameras including super wide-angle and low-light lenses.

Sample units of the TCL 10 5G and 10 Pro viewed by Mobile World Live (MWL) each featured a 64MP main lens, while the TCL 10L sported a 48MP module.

The company also said the 5G model will run on Qualcomm’s latest 7-series chipset.

Jason Gerdon, TCL Communication’s head of global communications and strategy, told MWL the 10-series smartphones build on the release of the company’s own-brand Plex handset in October 2019 and will serve as the “backbone of the mainstream TCL mobile global smartphone portfolio” as it expands beyond its Alcatel and BlackBerry brands.

He explained 5G “played an important part in this timing because we knew this was going to be an inflection point” where a launch in “the premium mid-tier would make sense and it wasn’t just another smartphone in the mix of all the other smartphones”.

Gerdon said work is underway on additional devices including tablets and wearables to help rapidly grow the new portfolio, adding TCL Communication is eyeing additional 5G opportunities “where it makes sense”. For example, 5G could be added to TVs to enable better content streaming and cloud gaming experiences.

The company still aims to release a foldable device in 2020 and currently has around three dozen flexible display products in some stage of development, Gerdon added. However, he said it isn’t going to rush a half-baked product out, and hinted the launch of a foldables developer programme could precede the release of a final consumer device.