Foldable phones are on the way… and it looks like foldable PCs may also be coming soon.
Royole showed off the world’s first smartphone with a foldable glass display at CES last week. Samsung may unveil its upcoming folding phone as soon as February 20th. Now Microsoft has started including hints in Windows 10 builds suggesting that the company is developing a version of its operating system for foldable devices.
The move’s not a big surprise. Rumor has it that Microsoft has been working on its own dual-screen and/or foldable devices for a while, although it’s unclear at this point if the company will bring it to market or if Microsoft is just developing software for third-party hardware.
Meanwhile Intel’s Tiger Rapids reference design could pave the way for dual-screen Windows computers, and Lenovo’s Yoga Book C930 is already a thing you can buy if you want a dual-screen laptop (where one screen is an E Ink display that you can use as a virtual keyboard).
But at this point Windows isn’t really optimized for this sort of device, where you may want apps, taskbars, and other items to adjust to different layouts depending on how you’re using a device: is it folded in half for use like a tablet, unfolded for use like a larger tablet, or propped up for use like a notebook with a touchscreen keyboard?
The Verge reports that “sources familiar with Microsoft’s Plans” say that the company is indeed working on a version of Windows that’s optimized for those sorts of scenarios. And odds are that’s what we’re seeing in the latest build notes.
Unfortunately that’s about all we know for now.
In recent years, Microsoft has made a habit of previewing upcoming features and soliciting help from the community in testing them. But there are certain things that the company continues to develop behind closed doors and so far foldable support seems to be one of those things.