While foldable smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, may seem like a good idea as they can move from being a phone-sized device to a tablet-sized device, nobody yet has come up with a tablet-sized device that can also fold.
Before now. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 uses similar screen tech to the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 but it, er, already is tablet sized. So the idea of this is to take on the iPad by… being more foldable. Okay.
Right now iPads rule the roost when it comes round to the tablet market, with the Apple iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro providing a great slate choice at a variety of different price points and technical specs.
One area where the Apple iPad range can’t compete, though, is in terms of having a folding screen. That is exactly where Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is looking to take it on directly – it is the world’s first foldable PC tablet, combining the best of both worlds when it comes to laptops and tablets.
As a hybrid device with a foldable screen, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the evolution of the 2-in-1 laptop, which can fold in half to serve as a tablet. It’s a world first, so there are bound to be some kinks to iron out, but just like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold series, the ThinkPad X1 Fold could usher in a new generation of folding PCs.
Equipped with a folding 2K OLED display, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the size of a large tablet, measuring 13.3 inches across. However, the device can fold down the middle, allowing it to transform into a miniature laptop. It even comes with a custom Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard which can be magnetised over the lower half of the screen.
The true value of the ThinkPad X1 Fold is its sheer versatility. Thanks to the kickstand on the back of the device, you can stand it upright as a single screen, but you can also bend it into the shape of a book while reading, or have it sit as a laptop for work. It removes the need for users to carry around multiple devices for different purposes.
Folding displays have yet to see any sort of widespread adoption in laptop designs, but foldable smartphones are firmly set on that path already. Samsung, following the launch of its Galaxy Z Flip and Fold devices, appears to already be working on a Galaxy Z Fold device with dual folding screens. Huawei released its second folding device – the Huawei Mate XS – earlier this year, while Apple also filed a patent for a foldable iPhone design.
Evidently, foldable screens are a trend which is already coming to define the next generation of smartphones, but will that trend also follow with laptops? Lenovo certainly seem to think so, and the ThinkPad X1 Fold could be the harbinger of that shift.