CES 2020 has demonstrated the state of the art of foldable screen technology. We’ve seen Intel’s Horseshoe Bend prototype, Dell’s Concept Ori and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 fold. On the one hand, the shows have convinced me that these products are going to be a huge deal at some point. On the other hand, they assured me that the point was a bit far.
Foldable phones had a pretty rough 2019. The Galaxy Fold was a bust on launch, and pretty much everythingelse got delayed.
But at CES 2020, we’re seeing foldable PCsactually have a bit of a moment. We’ve already seen enough to make us think that maybe 2020 is theyear of the foldable PC.
(pleasant music) I think the most importantexample is Intel’s Horseshoe Bend concept. Now, Intel doesn’t sell PCs itself. But it often makes reference designs to try to help define categories, like Ultrabooks or two in ones. This Horseshoe Bend device has a 17-inch foldable OLED display.
And Intel says its newTiger Lake processor lets it be just 7 millimeters thick, and still get solid battery life. You can open it out toa full 17-inch display, or fold it like a normal-sized laptop with touchscreen keys on the bottom.
It is just a concept, but the fact that intelis making it at all suggests that it expects its partners to produce similar devices, because, that’s what this Intelchip is designed for.
(chilled electronic music) Major PC companies are alsopresenting their own concepts. Dell has two, one called the Concept Ori, and another called the Concept Duet. Ori means fold in Japanese, so that’s the one with thelegit folding OLED screen. It’s 13 inches, so it’slike having a big tablet or a tiny laptop.
The Duet, as you might have guessed, just has two separate screenswith a hinge in the middle. Dell didn’t say anything about specs other than the screen resolution, so don’t expect any devices like this to go on sale any time soon. In terms of actual shipping devices, there’s really only one, it’sLenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Fold. It’s similar to Dell’s ConceptOri in size, and design.
It has 13-inch screen, and itcan be folded the same way. There’s a magnetic keyboard that clips onto thebottom half of the screen when you fold it. And that also fills in the gap in the hinge when it’s closed.
The design is pretty nice, with a leather cover that slides along theback when you fold it, and, it’s not just a concept, Lenovo says it’ll actually go on sale in the middle of the year.
We even have basic specs,there’s an Intel processor, eight gigabytes of RAM, andup to a terabyte of storage. Prices start at $2,499 though, so don’t expect devices like this to be affordable for a while.
(twinkling electronic music) All of these devices might not actually beall that usable either, they’re all running regular Windows 10, which just really isn’t designedfor this kind of screen.
The manufacturers haveto add customization so you can do things like, pin different apps todifferent areas of the screen, and not everything worksin every orientation, and it’s all just a little bit awkward.
Intel and Lenovo both told me they’d work on Windows 10X devices later, which is Microsoft’supcoming version of Windows, aimed at folding and dualscreens like the Surface Neo. But there’s no word on whenthat’ll actually arrive. Until then, these are gonna besuper early adopter products.
They’ll cost a lot, andprobably be pretty janky. But hey, isn’t that what CES is all about? Everything at this show is impractical, until it isn’t a few years later. And, with giants like Intel,Dell and Lenovo on board, it feels likely that foldable PCs will be commonplace soon enough.
(electronic pulse)But hey, I’ve been wondering, if you actually had oneof these foldable PCs, how would you use it, whichdirection would you hold it in? (Camera operator laughs)I would wear it like a hat. Like a… (both laugh)