While smartphones are having fun with this trend, PCs with foldable screens have yet to catch on, in part because there’s only one option available right now. However, with HP expected to enter the scene, it’s possible that “foldable OLED” will become more common laptop lingo.
Lenovo has taken the bold first step towards foldable laptops with its 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. According to South Korean electronics website TheElec, HP’s version of the foldable OLED will be larger, with a 17-inch panel from LG Display measuring 11 inches when folded. HP hasn’t publicly announced or commented on the rumored PC, but a few details make the machine seem at least somewhat plausible. For one, in January, LG Display confirmed work on a 17-inch OLED foldable laptop design.
Most recently, TheElec reported on Monday that South Korean company SK IE Technology will produce transparent polyimide films to cover the flexible 4K OLED panels. The publication also claimed that LG Display is currently planning to manufacture up to “around 10,000” foldable OLED panels for HP starting in Q3.
Should the foldable HP become a reality, it will have a few immediate competitors. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is getting older, with the 2020 machine currently sporting a foldable OLED screen with a resolution of 2048×1536 up to an Intel Core i5-L16G7 with a performance core, four efficiency cores and a clock speed of 1.4 to 3 GHz is available. 8GB of LPDDR4X-4267 memory and 256GB of SSD storage.
In January, Asus also announced its Zenbook 17 Fold OLED for mid-2022. The machine looks like a stronger competitor for the rumored HP device, with a 17.3-inch bendable OLED touchscreen, 2560×1920 resolution, and an Intel i7-1250U clocked at 1.1-4.7 GHz, two performance cores and eight efficiency cores. Asus also announced the laptop with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD.
Asus hasn’t confirmed this, but TheElec reported on Wednesday that Asus’ foldable machines will also use polyimide films as well as BOE’s OLED panels.
Beyond image quality, productivity performance, price and durability, features that improve the new design’s usability (like Asus’ detachable physical keyboard) will be key differentiators for enthusiasts.
Although Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold was launched two years ago, we haven’t seen a direct competitor yet. But with another of the world’s top three PC makers stepping into this space, don’t be surprised to see more laptop-sized OLED screens bending in half and flanked by a ported chassis in the future.
Ars Technica may receive compensation for sales made from links in this post through affiliate programs.