At CES last week, Intel revealed its Horseshoe Bend foldable-screen computer prototype.
Lenovo demoed another foldable-screen X1 laptop that it co-engineered with Intel. When unfolded, both devices resemble large tablets, but as you bend the screen upward, they feel much more like laptops.
This isn’t the first time companies have attempted to merge tablets and laptops — Microsoft infamously tried with Windows 8 — but with Intel and Lenovo’s new computers, the hardware is adaptable, rather than only the software. And unlike foldable phones, which are great marketing tricks with few realistic benefits, this new segment of computers will change how we use both laptops andtablets: They’ll merge the two categories into one.
Tablets and laptops have remained separate categories largely because their physical design simply can’t do both jobs well — tablets are usually all screen, and a laptop typically has a keyboard glued to the lower half that can’t be changed.
While laptop sales have slowed since tablets arrived, devices like the iPad, which has dominated the category, still aren’t perfect replacements. It’s awkward to hold an iPad and type on it for long lengths of time, so people often buy the keyboard case to make it act more like a laptop or relegate the iPad to watching Netflix.
There’s simply no middle ground without awkward cases, attachments, or stands that end up making tablets more like a laptop in the first place, defeating the point. More