Firm expects big demand from mobile, tech savvy users for new product
Chinese technology major Lenovo Group Ltd gave a preview and demo of the world's first foldable personal computer as part of its broader push to keep innovating on products in an atmosphere of fierce competition.
The new PC was unveiled in a conference in Orlando, Florida, and comes with a foldable 13.3-inch touch screen display and a keyboard attachment. The display was made in collaboration with South Korean company LG and can be folded in half and held as a book. In "half screen" mode, consumers are left with a 9.6-inch display.
The foldable PC is still a prototype and does not yet have a firm release date or pricing, but Lenovo said the device will join the company's premium ThinkPad X1 family, pledging that portability will not compromise productivity and reliability.
Lenovo has been developing the PC for three years and it is designed to meet the demand of highly mobile, tech-savvy professionals who want a large comfortable screen even on the go, the company said in a statement. The device comes with an Intel processor and a Windows operating system, which can help users deal with office and creative work.
According to a report by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, remote work increased 140 percent from 2008 to 2016, with an increasing number of employees taking time-sensitive, media-intensive projects with them everywhere.
Lenovo's foldable PC came after a string of Chinese companies unveiled large-screen devices that can be bent and rolled to function both as a smartphone and a tablet. Huawei launched its first 5G foldable smartphone in February and the model is scheduled to hit the market in June. Royole Corp, a Chinese manufacturer of flexible displays, also released a foldable smartphone in November.
Fu Liang, an independent analyst who has been following the consumer electronics industry for a decade, said 2019 will be the first year of commercial foldable smartphones, but it will take longer for foldable computers to hit the market.
"The bigger the foldable display, the more difficult it is to lower defect rates," Fu said, adding "though the entire industry is looking forward to something exciting enough to fuel consumers' interests to upgrade their PCs, more progress is needed in manufacturing techniques and display structures."
World PC shipments declined 4.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019 to 58.5 million units, but Lenovo posted 6.9 percent growth during the same time frame compared with a year ago, shipping 13.2 million units, according to data from market research company Gartner Inc.