The future is foldable, if it’s up to technology companies. At the CES tech fair in Las Vegas, brands such as Dell and Lenovo showed what we can expect from the first foldable computers.
In 2019, tech fairs focused on foldable smartphones. The Chinese brand Royole was present at CES with the first folding phone, followed later in the year by big boys like Samsung and Huawei with their own variants.
The idea of these devices was that the user can carry more screen without taking up much more space. The telephones only got a bit thicker, because two were placed on top of each other, forming a small tablet when unfolded.
More screen in a smaller case
The practical advantage with smartphones also applies to the development of the foldable computer. Or rather: the laptop that consists of a single screen instead of a screen and physical keyboard. “We have heard from customers that they would like a larger screen, but with a smaller housing,” said Kevin Turchin, CEO of Dell.
Dell therefore presented its concept called Ori – shortly before origami. The device is the size of a small book. Expanded Ori offers a 13-inch screen, although we should soon forget screen sizes with these types of devices, says a spokesperson. Because one time you use a larger part of the screen than the other time.
Although it was a draft version, we were able to get started with Ori. The device is currently running on Windows 10. In the unfolded position, it can be used as a regular tablet. It can also be folded 90 degrees, so that it can be used as a laptop with a keyboard on the lower half of the screen.
The Dell device was clearly still a concept. So the screen quality was disappointing. If the screen was folded, the brightness at the fold went up considerably. There were also large edges around it and the device had to be connected to the charger due to the rapidly falling battery.
Lenovo will release its folded ThinkPad in 2020
Lenovo also showed a folding computer. The ThinkPad X1 Fold has passed the concept phase and will actually come onto the market in the summer of this year. In the US, it will cost $ 2,499 (approximately € 2,250). According to the company, the device will be launched worldwide. A Dutch prize is not yet available.
In terms of design, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is similar to the Dell concept. The Lenovo folding computer has an oled screen of 13.3 inches, with a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels. In the center of the screen that we saw, a small folding edge was visible, although it was less present than we saw earlier, for example, in the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The X1 Fold works with Windows 10 Pro. The question is still what the specifications of the X1 Fold are. The device comes with a Bluetooth keyboard that can be clicked via magnets at the bottom of the display if it is to be used as a laptop. That is a smart solution.
Even when folded, the keyboard can be hung on the device. It makes it slightly thicker, but it fills up the space created by the fold of the screen.
More brands want to fold computers
Dell and Lenovo are not the only companies working on a folding computer. Microsoft already showed its Surface Duo last year, which will be released this year. This “folding tablet” is also supplied with a keyboard to be able to use it as a laptop.
Lenovo speaks of a folding PC. That sounds strange, because laptops already exist. The devices can perhaps best be described as foldable tablets with the power of a laptop. But to be able to determine how they perform in daily life, we still have to be patient.