Lenovo Shows World’s First Foldable PC
See, now, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Forget about the foldable phone, which is more of a gimmick to me than anything. What the tech world really has been waiting for with these foldable displays is something like the ThinkPad X1 from Lenovo, which was unveiled during the company’s Accelerate 2019 conference this week in Orlando.
Details on availability and pricing are not expected to be made public some time in 2020, but Lenovo shared plenty of juicy information about the forthcoming product, which included a prototype of the new foldable laptop. What the company is dubbing the ThinkPad X1 family, the product line will break the mold of being an oversized smartphone or a touchscreen tablet, or some sort of funky hybrid—all of which we’ve seen hit the market over the past several years. Rather, Lenovo will adopt the growing and advancing trend of foldable displays and apply it to the laptop market. The ThinkPad X1 will be a full-fledged laptop that happens to have a foldable display.
And this is exactly the type of implementation that I’ve been craving when it comes to this new segment of foldables. We’ve not seen a single smartphone design application that works or makes sense yet—and that’s not to say manufacturers haven’t accomplished some fairly impressive feats in launching these foldable display devices. Rather, the area in which foldables seem to make more sense is in our larger devices, either making them more portable, or in converting displays that are already large into even larger devices.
Lenovo will take the former approach with their first ThinkPad X1 product, which takes a standard laptop form factor and makes it more portable. The 13.3-inch display gets folded up into a smaller product when not in use, making it easier to lug around than a nonfoldable 13.3-inch standard laptop with a physical keyboard.
Functionally, the display will operate in several different ways, according to Lenovo. The user can use it completely unfolded like a tablet that just happens to support the full Windows operating system, it can folded like a clamshell to make it easier to use while on the commute to or from work, it can dock to a larger display for an extended computing experience, and you can write on the X1 with its included Wacom AES stylus for seamless note taking.
What Lenovo brought with them to Accelerate was just a prototype of the device, but even the early returns from tech press that were on hand to get hands on seemed really positive. The display—a 4:3, 2K screen—performed as expected with almost no indication of a fold when completely opened, and minimal to no glitching when swapping between the various setups. So, while we’ve got foldable phones still struggling to make a positive impression, the first-ever foldable laptop seems to be a real big hit.