Lenovo Previews a Foldable ThinkPad Tablet

It won’t ship until 2020, but Lenovo has offered a quick preview of what it’s calling the world’s first foldable PC.

“We’re unveiling a preview and demo of the world’s first foldable PC,” the Lenovo announcement notes. “Made for highly-mobile, tech-savvy professionals who demand the best tools, the new foldable PC joins the premium ThinkPad X1 family, promising that the unprecedented portability will in no way compromise productivity and reliability. This is not a phone, tablet, or familiar hybrid; this is a full-fledged laptop with a foldable screen.”

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Given the timing, there are a lot of unknowns right now: The name, pricing, and much more are all to be determined at a later date. But Lenovo did supply me with the following details:

  • Lenovo sees the device as a primary PC that can replace your laptop.
  • The product is intended for road warriors and business executives that are highly mobile, as well as tech enthusiasts.
  • The device will be part of the ThinkPad X1 Family; a product name will come at later.
  • It will ship to market in next year (2020).
  • Lenovo has been developing the system for three years to date.
  • Lenovo is launching the technology as part of the ThinkPad brand because it transcends market segments and it is known as a high-quality reliable brand.
  • Lenovo thinks you’ll fold and unfold this device more frequently so it is doubling the hinge cycles that it tests on laptops.
  • This is a ThinkPad and it must pass Lenovo’s rigorous quality specs and testing.
  • We use a torque hinge that allows the screen to bend and hold into a variety of angles (like a notebook).
  • There is no pricing to share at this point.
  • This will be a Windows-based device. (No more detail than that on the operating system.)
  • The compute is Intel technology. (No more detail can be shared on CPU type.)
  • The foldable screen is made by LG Display (LGD).
  • It is a folding OLED, 2K display, 4:3 ratio, 13.3” full screen, and 9.6” in half screen.
  • There is an IR camera and 2 USB C ports.
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Wacom Pen
  • Bluetooth Keyboard
  • All day battery

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Conversation 49 comments

  • noflames

    13 May, 2019 - 7:06 pm

    <p>Is this a solution looking for a problem? I don't imagine these will sell very well.</p>

    • Rob_Wade

      14 May, 2019 - 3:05 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427966">In reply to NoFlames:</a></em></blockquote><p>Exactly my question.</p>

    • Synoge

      14 May, 2019 - 4:17 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427966">In reply to NoFlames:</a></em></blockquote><p>I've got the perfect solution to your problem. Don't buy one! </p>

      • skane2600

        15 May, 2019 - 11:27 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428145">In reply to Synoge:</a></em></blockquote><p>No, that would be Lenovo's problem.</p>

  • skane2600

    13 May, 2019 - 7:16 pm

    <p>It's hard to tell from these images, but does this thing have a real keyboard? If not, it's a foldable tablet.</p>

    • dontbe evil

      14 May, 2019 - 1:37 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427969">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>no real keyboard</p><p><br></p><p>p.s.</p><p>external one https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/13/lenovo-foldable-thinkpad-pc-hands-on/#/</p&gt;

      • skane2600

        14 May, 2019 - 12:20 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428000">In reply to dontbe_evil:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks. So definitely a tablet.</p>

    • A_lurker

      14 May, 2019 - 12:50 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427969">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Effectively an oversized tablet with a huge screen. I am not sure about the use case with no keyboard unless you lug around. If I need portability I am not thrilled about dragging any keyboard with me; one more awkward thing to carry. If I need screen resolution at my desk, just plug it into a large monitor. </p><p><br></p><p>Also, not to sure about the fatigue characteristics of bendable glass and how many cycles of opening and closing it will tolerate. </p>

      • skane2600

        14 May, 2019 - 8:09 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428101">In reply to A_lurker:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think the best compromise between portability and productivity is a conventional laptop. I don't see any serious challenger that's likely to steal its crown for the foreseeable future. </p>

        • alysdexia

          15 May, 2019 - 4:08 am

          <blockquote><a href="#428187" data-jzz-gui-player="true"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>iPad Pro + Brydge</p>

          • skane2600

            15 May, 2019 - 11:26 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#428237">In reply to alysdexia:</a></em></blockquote><p>iOS not all that productive and a 3rd party keyboard just makes it bulkier. </p>

  • RobertJasiek

    13 May, 2019 - 7:42 pm

    <p>4:3 Windows tablet – I would buy it if only it was NOT foldable (breakable) and not OLED (flickering).</p>

  • MikeGalos

    13 May, 2019 - 8:14 pm

    <p>Ah, The first announced Andromeda device. The OEM version.</p>

    • curtisspendlove

      14 May, 2019 - 3:26 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427972">In reply to MikeGalos:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think you’re going to have a rough time fitting this in your shirt pocket…</p>

      • skane2600

        14 May, 2019 - 8:06 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428011">In reply to curtisspendlove:</a></em></blockquote><p>When you guys disagree I think "The Battle of the Beards". </p>

  • j_c

    13 May, 2019 - 8:22 pm

    <p>This is 3D TV all over again.</p>

  • siv

    13 May, 2019 - 8:28 pm

    <p>Yet another expensive fad that will be gone in a couple of years. Probably less if a) the hinges are as unreliable as the ones recently withdrawn on the Samsung Galaxy folding phone and b) if the price will be just as ridiculous on this but more so.</p><p><br></p><p>At the end of the day, the laptop format is well know, you have a screen and a keyboard to make a desktop PC portable, end of! I can't see any use case for this that would make any sense that buying a large tablet wouldn't solve. And they were a fad as well.</p>

    • misterstuart

      Premium Member
      14 May, 2019 - 9:25 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427977">In reply to Siv:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree. This is just another one of those "because we can" moments. This formfactor is just not practical at all. It's neat for sure, but not much more than that. </p>

    • Dashrender

      Premium Member
      14 May, 2019 - 3:25 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427977">In reply to Siv:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed – what is the gain? A blending of two devices into one? We see time and time again that that just doesn't work, and people generally fall back into having two devices.</p><p><br></p><p>This will be for the rich exec who just wants to show off how deep his pockets are, no different than wearing a Rolex.</p>

  • ken_loewen

    Premium Member
    13 May, 2019 - 9:01 pm

    <p>It would be interesting to have two apps open on the facing pages and use the pen to take notes in One Note, enter numbers and formulae on Excel, lasso/copy/paste in Word and PowerPoint. Have Visio or One Note snap attractive drawings to hand drawn ones, have the whiteboard app do spellchecker, etc. I see a LOT of valid use cases for this. </p>

  • jblank46

    13 May, 2019 - 9:26 pm

    <p>I think there’s definitely room for something like this to build on the market the iPad solidified. A foldable iPad like device is more appealing to me than a foldable phone.</p>

  • dcdevito

    13 May, 2019 - 9:57 pm

    <p>Your move, Panos </p>

  • harmjr

    Premium Member
    13 May, 2019 - 11:37 pm

    <p>I can see myself buying this if it's W10 pro an i5 chip 8+ gb ram and 256 gb hd. If it cost about $1,000 to $1,200. Can't go over $1,400.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      14 May, 2019 - 2:52 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427995">In reply to harmjr:</a></em></blockquote><p>Given it sits with the X1 line and the "tiny" folding screen on the Samsung Galaxy Fold put its price up by nearly 1K over the non-fold line, I don't think you'll be getting much change out of $2,000 – it will probably be much higher.</p>

      • harmjr

        Premium Member
        14 May, 2019 - 12:18 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428005">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>I would not bet against you but if they come out at that price $2,000+ it will be a dud. As those would could afford it will be very few.</p>

  • dontbe evil

    14 May, 2019 - 1:36 am

    <p>once again apple is a million of years behind</p>

    • Synoge

      14 May, 2019 - 4:11 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#427999">In reply to dontbe_evil:</a></em></blockquote><p>Apple is basically irrelevant in 2019/2020. For that matter so is Samsung until they start bringing cost down. </p>

  • pmeinl

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2019 - 3:45 am

    <p>Foldable tablets <em>with visible hinge</em> (no problems with the screen having to bend) might be a good alternative.</p><p>When setting up my first multi-monitor desktop I assumed wide bezels might be a problem but they are not and even monitors of different size don't spoil the experience much (if one can set the resolutions right and does not need to uses an app spanning screens). I assume one would get used to seeing and ignoring a small line between two separate screens.</p>

  • james_wilson

    14 May, 2019 - 4:32 am

    <p>Really interesting concept but I don't think a laptop is the ideal product for this technology.</p><p><br></p><p>Generally, people like typing and to be fair to Apple, most people prefer to use a mouse a keyboard as opposed to a touch surface, that is more suited to a phone type handheld. I have a Surface Pro 4 and Pen and very rarely use the touch screen or pen. Some people love it but I suspect it's more specialised than people think.</p><p><br></p><p>Anyway, the technology is good though – just needs the right product to make use of it.</p>

  • Daekar

    14 May, 2019 - 7:39 am

    <p>They need to NAIL the software keyboard for this to be anything but a waste of cash. Still, I'm glad to see that foldables are progressing, even if it is a bit slowly.</p>

  • cheetahdriver

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2019 - 8:35 am

    <p>At the end of the day, while I like more screen area, the decider for me is the keyboard. I just can't see this keyboard being something that I stop carrying my Das Keyboard around in a case for (as the Lenovo X1 Extreme is). If I have to carry a keyboard, then the lightness of this is almost immaterial. </p><p><br></p><p>I undoubtedly am not their usage demographic. But I don't see these being a "thing". I would be more interested in a modern take on the W701DS, the dual screen Thinkpad. Get me an X1 sized device with a second screen that slides out (or rolls out) and I would be in line…</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2019 - 9:46 am

    <p>I prefer not to have my first take be a negative one, so I'll just say that the development of foldable screen tech makes this kind of experiment inevitable. Let a team with real experience like the ThinkPad team take a first shot and we'll see how it goes. </p><p>Now for my second take I'll wonder aloud whether the trade-off's here (replacing great hardware keyboard with software keyboard, and introducing a crease into the screen) are worth the relatively small gain in portability; this thing will still be roughly 6" x 9" (maybe 15cm x 22cm?) which is too large to fit in a pocket. </p><p><span style="color: rgb(84, 84, 84);">¯_(ツ)_/¯</span></p>

  • mmcpher

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2019 - 10:26 am

    <p>For me, the key would be whether Lenovo had made real progress in advancing pen/stylus, text-character recognition, both in terms of accuracy and ease-of-input. Lenovo was doing more interesting things than the Surface team was a few years back, but until this, they hadn't the hardware to make much use of their more intuitive and naturalistic input design. </p>

  • waethorn

    14 May, 2019 - 12:34 pm

    <p>I think I'd rather that they just develop the technology bits as thin as possible, and put 2 separate screens in a folio book cover and be done with it. All these companies have curved-edge glass screens. What's preventing them from just putting 2 thin curved-edge screens close together with a gap? It would "solve" the problem of trying to perfect bendable screen technology which is doomed to failure, and would likely cost less to boot. Hell, they could use a Surface Book type hinge in the cover for extra rigidity.</p>

    • alysdexia

      15 May, 2019 - 4:04 am

      <blockquote><a href="#428083" data-jzz-gui-player="true"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>thin -&gt; fine</p>

  • Dan1986ist

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2019 - 12:38 pm

    <p>Wasn't there a codename for Windows 10 for Foldable PCs or something like? If so could that be the version/SKU of Windows 10 that comes on this, if/when it comes to market? </p>

  • Rob_Wade

    14 May, 2019 - 3:04 pm

    <p>What a lame product. Do they NOT get that the Touch Cover for Surface Pro failed pretty quickly in favor of the Type Cover? This is just stupid. Plus I have no doubt this thing will suffer hardware failures very quickly.</p>

    • Synoge

      14 May, 2019 - 4:09 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#428118">In reply to Rob_Wade:</a></em></blockquote><p>That's why there are future interactions of products, they learn from their mistakes and eventually fix them. That's like saying the first iPhone was lame compared to what it is now. SMH</p>

      • skane2600

        14 May, 2019 - 8:03 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428141">In reply to Synoge:</a></em></blockquote><p>Smart companies don't just learn from their own mistakes but from the mistakes of competitors. </p>

      • alysdexia

        15 May, 2019 - 4:03 am

        <blockquote><a href="#428141" data-jzz-gui-player="true"><em>In reply to Synoge:</em></a></blockquote><p>interactions -&gt; iterations</p>

      • Rob_Wade

        15 May, 2019 - 9:58 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428141">In reply to Synoge:</a></em></blockquote><p>I don't think you get it. The Touch Cover no longer exists because it became apparent that the overwhelming majority of users prefer a tactile response when typing. This folding piece of flotsam in no way addresses this issue. It's a niche idea. And, as far as I'm concerned, a stupid application of the potential virtues of bendable screens.</p>

  • Synoge

    14 May, 2019 - 4:08 pm

    <p>So why is everyone so salty? How the hell are they supposed to solve the "problems" if they aren't producing products. Especially products that are not just used in a lab/test environment. Everyone needs to relax. </p>

    • skane2600

      14 May, 2019 - 8:02 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#428139">In reply to Synoge:</a></em></blockquote><p>There is no "problems".</p>

      • Rob_Wade

        15 May, 2019 - 9:56 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#428184">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Exactly. This is a solution in search of a problem.</p>

    • Oreo

      14 May, 2019 - 9:06 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#428139">In reply to Synoge:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm extremely excited about the possibilities that foldable screens can offer. But given what happened to Samsung's foldable smartphone, I am very hesitant and would have preferred if Lenovo hadn't pre-announced it. Foldable screens as an idea are extremely old, and you can see where the tech could eventually go from scifi series such as Earth Final Conflict or Westworld. But tech demos are easy, reliable products are hard. </p>

      • alysdexia

        15 May, 2019 - 4:02 am

        <blockquote><a href="#428204" data-jzz-gui-player="true"><em>In reply to Oreo:</em></a></blockquote><p>easy:touh::soft:hard</p><p>, -&gt; ;</p>

    • alysdexia

      15 May, 2019 - 4:02 am

      <blockquote><a href="#428139" data-jzz-gui-player="true"><em>In reply to Synoge:</em></a></blockquote><p>the -&gt; in [the]</p>

  • sharpsone

    15 May, 2019 - 10:12 pm

    <p>Sweet, sounds like it will be a reliable folding screen… Cough cough Samcrap. </p>

  • Keith Garsson

    03 June, 2019 - 11:21 pm

    <p>Another “solution” in search of a problem. Solve the below, before you start giving me worthless hardware I don’t need </p><p><br></p><ol><li>Get me a faster processor</li><li>Get me a laptop that doesn’t get slower and slower the more I use it</li><li>Get me a laptop that doesn’t overheat and explain it away with idiotic techno-BS</li><li>Get me a laptop with antivirus/antiphishing etc that doesn’t use up a lot of CPU</li><li>Get rid of the registry</li><li>Get Microsoft to rebuild Excel so that 60,000 rows isn’t such a big deal</li><li>Get me a user community that doesn’t tell me: “Oh, have you tried…” Yes, I have “tried” and Windows is still too slow</li></ol><p><br></p><p>When hardware designers and Microsoft start solving REAL problems that face REAL programmers, I’ll throw the confetti, but until then stop expecting me to say “Gee Whiz” for a bunch of crap I never asked for.</p><p><br></p><p>As a famous Broadway lyricist once said: “The problem with washing garbage is that when you’re done…it’s still garbage.”</p><p><br></p>

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