Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - TCL, manufacturer of BlackBerry and Alcatel smartphones, is thought to be jumping on the foldable phone bandwagon.

Several brands are expected to announce a foldable smartphone this year, including Samsung and Huawei, though some patents and renderings discovered by CNET suggest TCL will do something a little different.

The patents show five devices with flexible displays including two tablets, two smartphones and perhaps most interestingly, a smartphone that could fold into a watch.

CNETTCL patent suggests foldable phone turning into watch image 2

Both the tablets and smartphones appear to be in two variants with one tablet and smartphone offering display that folds inwards like a clamshell, while the other variants shows a display on the outside, similar to what Royole launched at CES 2019 with its FlexPai foldable smartphone.

The other device appears to be tall and slim with the ability to fold around the wrist in a cuff design.

As with all patents, many never see the light of day in terms of actual manufacture, but foldable screens are set to be a trend for 2019 so it's no surprise to see yet another company dabbling in the field.

It is not clear when or if the TCL foldable devices will launch, though the company did tell CNET it had plans to release its first foldable device in 2020.

Motorola's new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone - find out why, right here

Meanwhile in the foldable phone market, Samsung is expected to reveal its foldable device - the rumoured Galaxy F - during its Unpacked event on 20 February so stay tuned.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 18 February 2019.