The era of the foldable smartphone arrived with a thud earlier this year when Samsung’s first attempt at a smartphone with a folding screen, the Galaxy Fold, had to be pulled before it was even released. Questions about the product’s design and durability arose from the outset, and despite Samsung’s claims that its phones had been thoroughly tested, they broke when given to a handful of reviewers.
Lenovo would like you to put all that out of your mind as it ushers in the era of the first foldable laptop. Well, OK, all laptops fold, but this one is going to be all screen.
The company announced the ThinkPad X1 foldable prototype laptop at its annual sales event today, aiming to show one direction it sees the future of computing heading. In a brief meeting to demonstrate a working prototype of the device earlier this month, Lenovo told Quartz that it sees the future X1 device replacing the average person’s daily computer, providing them a large-screen Windows device in a small package. It doesn’t have a price for the unreleased device yet, but its X1 line of products is generally reserved for its high-end computers.
Lenovo is still working out the kinks of the product—it’s still figuring out how a physical keyboard will fit into the computer, for example—and plans to take its time releasing it. Lenovo said it’s been working on the device for the last three years, and doesn’t plan to release it until 2020, presumably hoping to avoid a fate like the Fold.
The prototype, however, didn’t feel like a massively unfinished device. The hinge allowed the screen told be sturdily tilted up to a variety of viewing angles when it was folded into the shape of a traditional laptop, and the device seemed to have no problem running Windows. The large 13.3-inch high-resolution display looked bright and sharp however it was curved.
While it’s still very much a work in progress, the new device hints at where device makers are looking toward the future—whether that’s a future anyone actually wants, however, is unclear.