The first smartphones with foldable displays are coming this year, allowing you to fold a device in half for use as a phone, or unfold it for use as a tablet. But why stop there?

Lenovo is showing off a preview of the first laptop with a foldable display. The company says it’ll be part of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 line of premium devices when it ships sometime in 2020.

The notebook features a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1440 pixel flexible OLED display from LG. Fold the screen at the middle and you can use the Thinkpad X1 like a laptop, with one part of the screen function as a display and the other as a keyboard. Unfold it and you have a large tablet.

This wouldn’t be Lenovo’s first foray into the laptop-with-a-virtual-keyboard space. The Lenovo Yoga Book line of devices feature dual screens, allowing you to draw, use handwriting, or type on one screen while viewing content on the other. What’s new is that the ThinkPad X1 foldable prototype doesn’t have two screens separated by a hinge. It has a single screen that folds at the middle.

In addition to functioning in laptop or tablet modes, Lenovo suggests you could use the device like a book, with “pages” of content on each side. You could prop it up using a kickstand for viewing media, use a pen for taking handwritten notes, or connect it to a docking station or keyboard if you need to do more typing.

Lenovo hasn’t announced detailed specs yet, and we don’t know how much the ThinkPad X1 foldable will cost. But if device makers expect people to spend as much as $2600 on smartphones with foldable displays, I certainly don’t expect laptops with even bigger foldable displays to be cheap anytime  in the near future.

According to Tom’s Hardware, which got a chance to check out the prototype in person, the prototype has an unspecified Intel processor, a display with a 4:3 aspect ratio, two USB Type-C ports, a Windows Hello-compatible IR camera, and stereo speakers.

The Verge reports that the device weighs less than two pounds. And Gizmodo explains that when you’re using the ThinkPad X1 foldable in laptop mode, you get a “9.6 inch ‘half screen.'”

You can click on the links to any of those sites for some hands-on photos, videos, and first impressions of the prototype. Engadget, Ars Technica and Laptop Magazine also have some more photos and details.

 

 

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18 replies on “Lenovo previews ThinkPad X1 laptop with a foldable display”

  1. This device is practically guaranteed to be a turd, given the the durability issues these screens have. Plus, why was this even made?! What can this device accomplish that a laptop with two separate screens cannot? The answers I can come up with are all things this device does not appear to even do.

    This is a solution looking for a problem, and those never end up being good products.

  2. Oh, boy… here we go… The keyboard on a notebook is not an optional feature, it’s a must. All notebooks are foldable, that’s the whole point, that’s the basic design. It’s only the lower area is dedicated for input. Because you don’t look down there. That would be stupid, neck straining, and not useful at all, since you already have the top part for a display and you can only look at one of them at a time. As for using it as one big display: have you seen anyone using a 20″ tablet? Yeah, I don’t really think that will catch on either. The best design is the Surfacebook, where you can undock the screen and use it as a separate tablet if you must, but you still get a keyboard.

  3. Looks cool, but I think my kids would break it within the first 2 weeks.

  4. Interesting concept, I’d love to see how input is supposed to work tho, given hardly everything works via touch screens or pens.

  5. I think they missed the whole point of this thing. It should unfold into a 26″ screen which you can use as AIO or fold to 13.3″ laptop. They should also have detachable keyboard for the AIO mode

  6. The screen resolution seems low especially since you lose half when folding.

    As for price. Yes. I assume it will be expensive but it’s possible it won’t be as exaggerated as with phones since miniaturization is not as extreme in laptops (plus Lenovo has more experience with alternate hinge systems compared to other companies.)

    1. What were the other gimmicky Lenovo products that didn’t get support post release? I’ve only used ThinkPads from Lenovo (the more traditional ThinkPads that is).

      1. I seem to remember their ThinkVision USB monitors being pretty under-supported at launch.

  7. The ThinkPad name really has died. I’ve associated ThinkPads with great keyboards, durability and the trackpoint. This has none of those. Also, looks like in “laptop mode”, Windows still thinks it’s just in portrait orientation except the screen is bent based on the videos/photos.

    Oh well, it’s nice to see OEMs taking risks and experimenting again in the mobile PC space.

  8. 13.3″ and 4:3 aspect ratio. Sold!

    Foldable… not sold on this by a long stretch. It’s a Windows tablet or a netbook with a horrid (a parody of a) keyboard: ughh.

  9. I kind of expected something like this to pop up until everyone learned just how fragile these screens are. Unfortunately, videos of folding and unfolding it don’t exactly inspire confidence in this particular device’s durability.
    It would certainly be neat to have a rigid detachable keyboard for a device like this, since then you could use it as a laptop TWO different ways.

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