As foldable smartphones begin to gain popularity, global PC major Lenovo has gone a step further with unveiling the world's first foldable PC 'ThinkPad X1 Fold' at the 'CES 2020' here, "the first fully functional PC with a folding OLED display that will turn the device into a big-screen phablet. The X1 Fold, the announcement for which was made in this megacity of casinos, is built from a combination of lightweight alloys and carbon fibre and is covered in a leather folder.
With the durability and reliability expected from the ThinkPad brand, the X1 Fold has a 13.3-inch folding OLED display. It comes equipped with a separate keypad that can be wrapped inside the device. Overall, it weighs less than one kg. It will run on Microsoft Windows operating system and will be a 5G device. The X1 Fold will be available from mid-2020, starting at US$2,499 but there are no plans for bringing it to India at the time.
There is a fair degree of circumspection on the durability of foldable devices. Lenovo seemed aware of that and was ready with the reply when asked about its foldable PC screen.
Thorsten Stremlau, Chief Technology Officer, Lenovo, said the X1 Fold was tested for durability of three-to-five years in an office environment. He said it would provide the same performance as the ThinkPad does, suggesting that the OLED screen was expected to withstand many folds over that period.
Yasumichi Tsukamoto, Director and Principal Engineer, System Innovation Commercial Notebook Development at Lenovo, said that much time was spent on how to control the X1 Fold's central area.
Tests were made with several materials, including metal, that would ensure toughness. Finally, OLED was picked and carbon fibre was used for OLED supporting structure. On being asked of the need for a foldable ThinkPad, Stremlau said: "The need for a foldable ThinkPad is size."
In landscape mode with the integrated kickstand in the leather folio case, users can review and annotate the latest presentation or use the Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard. When folded closed, the keyboard is stored and wirelessly charged inside the system and secured with magnets.