Foldable phones and laptops gain the edge at CES 2020

Three tech companies have followed Samsung’s lead with their own foldable devices at CES 2020 this week.

Dell, Lenovo and TCL are all following in the wake of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphone, which was released last September. 

The £1,800 Galaxy Fold, which folds down a central hinge within the screen, was beleaguered by technical hitches in the run-up to its worldwide launch. 

Samsung admitted it rushed commercialisation of the device following reports of broken displays after mere days of use when released to reviewers in April.

With Samsung rumoured to unveil a more durable version of the Galaxy Fold next month, fellow tech companies are now trying to beat the company at its own game with foldable displays of their own.

Huawei and Motorola have also already released foldable phones; now Dell, Lenovo and TCL have unveiled more foldable concepts at CES that could be brought to market this year.  

The TCL foldable phone concept opens in the centre to reveal a 7.2-inch plastic display

The TCL foldable phone concept opens in the centre to reveal a 7.2-inch plastic display 

‘It’s noticeable that foldable devices are becoming increasingly popular as early kinks have been straightened out,’ said Phil Elford, head of technology at Argos.

‘TCL teased a foldable phone which looks like a fantastic device for watching movies on the go and we’re really excited to see what comes next from this emerging brand, who look set to shake things up in the phone market.’

Lenovo, meanwhile, is boasting what it describes ‘first foldable PC’, while Dell is embracing the ‘natural evolution of the PC' with its own prototype.

Let’s have a closer look.

TCL

You may not have heard of Chinese electronics maker TCL, which is mostly known for its televisions.

But the company has turned heads at CES with a foldable phone concept with four cameras.

The prototype, which is yet to receive an official name, opens up to reveal a 7.2-inch flexible touchscreen, smaller than the Galaxy Fold’s 7.3.

TCL is known for high-end products at reasonable prices - meaning their folding device is likely to be more affordable than the almost $2,000 Galaxy Fold

TCL is known for high-end products at reasonable prices - meaning their folding device is likely to be more affordable than the almost $2,000 Galaxy Fold

TCL also announced another high-end 5G phone that will cost no more than $500.

As the company is known for its high quality products at affordable prices, fans are optimistic that the TCL foldable phone will retail much lower than the Galaxy Fold’s $1,980.  

The unnamed folding device will reportedly not have a screen on the outside and is still very much in prototype phase.

TCL has come up with the technology itself and is used to helping develop phones for other companies, including under the Blackberry brand.

Its foldable phone concept uses its own trademarked 'DragonHinge', which creates 'a mechanical housing' to fold and bend. 

The custom flexible AMOLED display panels are developed by its sister company China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT).

Chinese tech giant TCL, which acquired the BlackBerry brand in 2016, is developing a flexible phone that can bend around your wrist to become a pseudo-smartwatch

Chinese tech giant TCL, which acquired the BlackBerry brand in 2016, is developing a flexible phone that can bend around your wrist to become a pseudo-smartwatch

The company has already been rumoured to have at least five folding devices in the works, including two tablets, two smartphones, and a type of wearable that swivels around a wrist like a smartwatch.

One of their prototypes, revealed last October, folds in two places to form a ‘Z’ shape and straightens to form 10-inch display when fully opened.

A CES 2020 TCL didn’t mention when or if those devices would be released.

Dell

Dell has revealed two foldable concept devices at CES 2020 – one double screen device that folds down a central pivot, and another that folds down the screen itself.

The Concept Duet is a notebook made up of two 13.4-inch display that fold up to face each other.

With the extra screen, users could host conference calls, check emails and take notes simultaneously on-the-go.

But more excitingly is the Concept Ori, folds down the centre of a single screen, reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphone.

Concept Ori is a foldable device with a 13-inch screen that folds down the middle of the display itself, much like Samsung's Galaxy Fold smartphone

Concept Ori is a foldable device with a 13-inch screen that folds down the middle of the display itself, much like Samsung's Galaxy Fold smartphone

The foldable screen can provide two separate displays or one big display, ideally for watching films or reading articles in vertical mode.

‘You could switch between the single screen experience with stunning visuals, your favourite apps, and great pen experience; or a dual screen experience that opens new avenues for multitasking and notetaking – and everything in between,’ the company says.

However, both Concept Ori and Duet, as the name suggests, are concept designs and Dell has no concrete plans yet to make them available yet.

Lenovo

PC-maker Lenovo is bringing the foldable technology to a new laptop, which it describes at the world’s first foldable PC. 

The ThinkPad X1 Fold has a 13.3-inch folding OLED screen and comes with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard. 

It can be used like a tablet when flat or be folded to create different viewing angles for working or watching video.

Users can connect to a

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