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At Accelerate 2019, Lenovo showed off the “world’s first foldable PC,” which will be part of the company’s flagship ThinkPad X1 series, aimed at businesses, and is expected to launch in 2020.
While foldable smartphones have been grabbing a lot of headlines recently (and in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, not for good reasons), this is the first time we’ve seen a foldable device that aims to replace your laptop. It comes only a few days after Intel suggested that foldable laptop displays won’t be coming anytime soon.
The foldable ThinkPad X1 comes with a 13.3-inch 2K OLED screen in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and when folded in half it turns into two 9.6-inch displays.
The special torque hinge of Lenovo’s foldable screen allows it to be used in different configurations – be it a tablet, a laptop-like device, or a media player with the screen folded into a ‘tent’ shape. Much like 2-in-1 laptops on the market today, but with the device made from a single screen.
You can also use the device with an external physical keyboard, with the screen acting as a standard monitor.
Durable and flexible
As we alluded to earlier, the Samsung Galaxy Fold has had a rocky start, with Samsung having to recall review units and postpone the launch of its foldable smartphone after issues with the screen emerged.
It seems Lenovo has worked hard to avoided this, with the company stating that it has doubled the number of tests it performs on the hinges of this foldable PC compared to its standard laptops. We visited Lenovo’s testing labs in Yokohama, Japan, a few years ago, and saw first-hand how rigorous the tests are.
Lenovo has also worked with LG Display to create the screen – and the company revealed it has been working on the foldable PC for three years.
Light on specs
While Lenovo showed off prototypes of its foldable PC, it didn’t reveal too much about specs. It suggested that the operating system will run Windows (but we don’t know which version, such as full Windows 10), and the processor will be “a future Intel-based platform that we’re not going to disclose at this time,” as Venture Beat reports. Could this ‘future’ Intel platform be something to do with Intel Project Athena?
Lenovo also revealed that it’s working with Microsoft to ensure that apps work well with the unique screen. In our hands-on review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable PC prototype, we noticed that there is a slight delay as Windows orientates itself when you fold the PC.
It will also come with two USB-C ports which will support external displays, charging and data transfer.
Hopefully Lenovo will perfect the prototype in time for its 2020 launch – and offer us a more successful foldable device than Samsung managed.