2019 was supposed to be the year that foldables take the tech year by storm. I can’t recall how many “Foldables All Set To Go Big” headline articles I’ve seen in the last year (I may even have written one myself). That being said, it’s safe to say that foldables tanked last year. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was an absolute disaster and Huawei’s Mate X still hasn’t seen the light of day outside of China.
In spite of all that however, it’s looking increasingly likely that 2020 is the year that foldables go big, and it’s started off quite literally with computer companies making the jump from traditional laptops to ones that are all screen.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is already prepped and ready for a worldwide launch and that speaks volumes of how prepared Lenovo was to take on the uphill task of creating a foldable tablet PC. At its core, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is a 13.3-inch screen surrounded by a chunky early 2000’s looking bezel, which is excusable given the amount of tech the company had to fit in there. It may be a tablet but it does have the option to attach a keyboard accessory that comes complete with a trackpad so it can also pass off as a mini laptop I suppose.
Lenovo wasn’t the only one with foldable tech to show off at CES 2020. Dell came through with not one but two foldable devices, the Concept Ori and Concept Duet. The Concept Ori isn’t exactly a foldable as it actually consists of two screens and is basically Dell’s take on Microsofts dual-screen Surface Neo. It looks like a normal laptop except it features two 13.3 inch screens connected to each other by a hinge much like the ones you see in 2 in 1 laptops these days. Like the the ThinkPad X1 Fold, it too has a keyboard accessory to give you that physical keyboard feel. The Concept Ori on the other hand is a foldable and looks very much like the ThinkPad X1 Fold with the thick bezels and the huge potential for screen creases.
Even Intel got in on the foldable hype with it’s very own Horseshoe Bend prototype, which is a massive 17 inch foldable tablet that actually looks way better than both Lenovo and Dells attempts. Its worth noting however that Lenovo’s foldable tablet is ready for market whereas Dell and Intel’s foldable offerings are merely prototypes and probably won’t even make it to the consumer market so it’s safe to assume that the latter two companies have yet to sort out niggling issues such as durability, battery life, cooling and what not.
So while 2019 may have been an absolute flop for foldables, 2020 is already starting to look like the year that companies really iron out all the kinks when it comes to foldable technology. I still don’t expect foldables to appeal to the masses given how expensive these devices are going for, but they’ll surely make up a bulk of the must have luxury tech items for the year.