2019 has been declared the Year Of The Folding Smartphone. But why settle for a 7- or 8-inch screen when you could have a whole laptop? That's the apparent reasoning behind Lenovo's latest ThinkPad - a tablet/laptop hybrid that can be folded like a book. Intrigued? Here's everything you need to know.
Lenovo unveiled the futuristic ThinkPad X1 at the company's Accelerate 2019 conference in Orlando, Florida. Billed as the world's first foldable PC, the device represents an entirely new form factor that eschews a detachable keyboard in favour of a folding glass display.
According to Lenovo, the device will be marketed as a full-fledged laptop rather than a tablet or foldable phone. It is being aimed at tech-savvy professionals who travel frequently and work remotely.
“We all want access to a large comfortable screen even on the go, but travel can make this inconvenient or impossible,” the company said at the event. According to Lenovo's research, a large percentage of mobile workers would prefer to use larger laptop displays but are unwilling to compromise on portability.
The new form factor provides the screen real estate that these workers crave in an appropriately compact package. The ability to fold the display in half reduces its footprint by 50 percent.
The OLED 2K display was developed in partnership with LG Display which has been quietly working on foldable screen technology for years. The device will run on the latest version of Windows and an Intel chipset. You'll also be able to turn it into a full desktop PC via a Lenovo docking station.
If you're wondering what the benefits of a folding laptop are, Lenovo has handily supplied a list which represents the daily experience of an imagined user:
- Wake up, fold it into a book, and start the day scanning your social media feeds in bed.
- Walk to your kitchen, unfold it, and stand it up for hands-free viewing of your top news sites.
- Hit your commute on the bus or train and morph it into a clamshell to catch up on emails.
- Get into the office, dock it into your multi-monitor setup and get to work.
- Go into meetings, take notes with its pen, and write on a full screen tablet.
- After lunch, set up the stand and use its mechanical keyboard to type out a few work emails.
- Come home at night, open it up and stream your favorite shows.
- Relax in bed, fold it in half and enjoy your latest read before going to sleep.
We think the success of this device will come down to the touch controls - Lenovo will really need to nail the onscreen keyboard to woo professionals with this thing. (i.e. - If people are forced to carry around a wireless or detachable keyboard, they might as well be using a bigger laptop.)
So when can you get it? Lenovo has not announced a release date yet, but the device isn't expected to launch until next year. By then, we're certain it will have some company from rival manufactures.
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