Lenovo Introduced "The World's First Foldable PC" Prototype


When Xerox PARC first developed the concept of a flexible display, the company made a major breakthrough.

The technology married the properties of a paper, with the capacity to display dynamic digital images. The technology was called the e-paper, or also dubbed as Gyricon by Xerox. It was Nicholas K. Sheridon who first conceptualized it when he was working at Xerox.

Gyricon LLC's operations were short lived, but that didn't mean the technology stopped developing.

It was in the late 2000 that the research and development of flexible displays started using OLED displays, with the main intention to implementing the technology into mobile devices and consumer television displays.

Then it was Nokia that was the first to conceptualized the application of flexible OLED displays in mobile phones, it was followed by Sony, and later by Samsung, HP, Huawei and others.

Going beyond them, Lenove showed off its prototype foldable PC at its Accelerate conference. The device unveiled was what it’s calling “the world’s first foldable PC.”

In its January 2019 report, Global Market Insights forecasted that the global market for foldable devices can worth $18 billion by 2025.

This is no surprise as more companies are trying to join in and benefit the crowd.

“This is not a phone, tablet, or familiar hybrid,” the company wrote in a press release announcing the device. “This is a full-fledged laptop with a foldable screen.”

The device has three modes:

  1. Tablet Mode: When both halves of the devices are opened and it’s held horizontally, it’ll become a tablets with a 13-inch OLED display. Users can also connect the device to its mechanical keyboard to use it like a 13-inch laptop if they’d rather type than tap.
  2. Booklet Mode: When users slightly close both halves of the screen while holding it horizontally, the device turns into booklet mode. This is ideal of reading a digital copy of a book as it if were actually printed. But Lenovo teased that users can also display an app on each screen, enabling multitasking.
  3. Laptop Mode: Flipping the device vertically and opening it at 90 degrees will activate laptop mode. The half of the device resting on the table will become a digital keyboard while the upper part becomes a compact laptop display.
In the 'laptop mode' with the screen folded in half vertically, the top part becomes the screen while the bottom becomes the keyboard.

“Lenovo’s foldable PC combines laptop productivity with smartphone portability to fold into your lifestyle. This is the only device you will need in the future to be productive all day long.”

Lenovo has been developing this for over three years. The device is meant to fall under its premium Thinkpad X1 line, is destined to be launched later in 2019.

The goal here is a premium product that can be included in the laptop-class device, and not as an accessory or secondary computer like a tablet might be.

Weighing less than 2 pounds, according to Lenove, the device has a 13.3-inch 2K OLED display made in partnership with LG, and powered by an Intel processor.

On the middle, Lenovo embedded a special hinge to fold the display, and said to made sure the crease is not as prominent as on foldable phones. But on the prototype, the hardware showcased at the even was somehow unfinished, as the folding mechanism didn’t feel particularly sturdy.

The screen also had poor viewing angles, shifting colors wildly when looked at from even slight angles.