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Foldable PC Market Heats up With New Models From HP And Asus

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The foldable PC market doesn’t really exist right now, as today it’s mostly a feature for smartphones. There is one foldable Lenovo laptop, The X1 Fold, but it’s not exactly taking the world by storm. Folding displays are about to arrive in a big way in the PC world though, according to new reports. HP is rumored to be developing a gargantuan 17″ folding “laptop,” but it’ll likely be a laptop/tablet hybrid. Asus will also be joining the fray soon with its own folding computer, meaning the category is about to get spicy.

The basis for the HP rumors is a Korean publication called TheElec. It reported recently that a company named SK IE Technology will be producing transparent polyimide films. These will supposedly be the top layer of 4K OLED displays made by LG. The same publication stated LG will be making the bendable displays for an upcoming HP notebook. It will be 17″ unfolded, and 11″ when folded, and will have a 3840×2160 resolution. As the company’s first foldable device, it’s dipping its toe in the water with a small order of panels to start. TheElec says LG will only produce 10,000 units for HP, which is a drop in the bucket for a company of its size. HP probably ships about 16 million PCs a quarter, based on some loose napkin math according to its market share. HP is expected to unveil it later in 2022, or possibly at CES 2023.

The Asus Zenbook Fold OLED gives us an idea of what HP’s laptop might look like. (Image: Asus)

As noted by Ars Technica, Asus will also be entering the folding space soon with a new product. At CES the company unveiled the Zenbook Fold OLED. It looks to be a direct competitor to whatever HP is cooking up. Thanks to its size it can be used as a standalone PC with an external keyboard. Alternatively, it also functions as a big tablet, or as a book. Unlike HP’s 4K panel, the Asus Fold sports a 2560×1920 OLED panel, which is a 12.5″ 1080p panel when folded. It features an Intel Core i7-1250U CPU, which has two performance cores and eight efficiency cores. Other notable specs include 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, Wi-Fi 6E, and a 75WHrs battery. Asus expect to start selling the Zenbook fold by mid-2022.

Both of these high-end designs will easily outflank the smaller 13″ Lenovo X1 Fold, which is ancient by today’s standards. It was released in 2020 and has relatively low-end specs. For example, it has only 8GB of DDR4 memory, and an Intel Lakefield Core i5-L16G7 CPU with five cores. It runs Windows 10 and is a chonky little PC.

Perhaps these new entrants from Asus and HP are what’s needed to invigorate this nascent PC market. There has also been rumors that Apple is already at work on a 20-inch foldable tablet thingy too. Personally we’d be open to checking them out providing they’re sufficiently powerful. The folding design would make them excellent for portability, but hopefully not at the cost of utility or performance.

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