Computers with foldable displays are a real thing you can buy now. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is a 13.3 inch tablet that you can fold in half and use like a 7 inch laptop, with the lower half of the screen functioning as a keyboard or input area.
But what if you want something bigger?
The Wistron Foldbook might fit the bill. It’s basically a tablet with a 17 inch display that folds at the middle, allowing you to use the computer like a 10 inch laptop. But it’s also designed to work with a set of accessories: one makes it a better laptop, while the other turns it into a desktop.
One small catch though? You can’t actually buy a Foldbook yet, and it’s unclear if you’ll ever be able to.
Wistron is a Taiwanese manufacturer that submitted the Foldbook for consideration in the IF Design Award 2021 competition, where it earned a place as a finalist. But Wistron doesn’t produce and sell its own products, so if and when this thing ever hits the streets, it will likely be under a different brand name.
Here’s the idea behind the Foldbook though: It’s a 17 inch tablet with support for touch or pen input, built-in speakers, and a couple of ports including at least two USB-C ports. You can use it as a handheld device, but it seems a little large for that. So Wistron also included a kickstand that lets you prop it up for use on a table, counter, or desk.
There’s also a docking station accessory that provides access to more ports including full-sized HDMI and Ethernet jacks and a couple of USB-A ports, as well as a larger speaker for richer sound.
But the system also comes with a detachable keyboard. Bend the display at the center and you can snap the keyboard magnetically in place over part of the lower portion of the screen for a comfortable touch-typing experience. Or detach the keyboard and place it in front of the Foldbook when you want to use the system like an all-in-one desktop PC.
At this point the Foldbook is more of a concept than a real product, so there’s no information about specs or ricing. But the foldable display technology required to make this sort of device a reality is already here.
It’s also really expensive at the moment. That Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold I mentioned at the top? It sells for $2499 and up.
I think that is really cool. I also think that is really costly. I hope it leads to something similar in the future at a much lower price.
This is exactly the direction I think foldable laptop-style devices should be heading in, though I want them bigger! A 27″ 16:9 display could fold in half to become a 14-15″ laptop iirc or remain flat for a desktop experience.
That would actually be nice. But it would have to have its built-in stand, not a separate item that you’ll need to carry along.
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