WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Being able to fold screens and displays opens the door to new computer and smart device formats, and this is just the beginning.
We’ve all seen Samsung and Huawei’s folding smartphones, and now Korean publication ETNews are reporting that Samsung, Intel and Microsoft are working together to commercialise folding laptops with each company providing an important component.
The laptops are based on Intel’s “Horseshoe Bend” flexible display concept which sees a 17-inch folding tablet fold into a 13-inch laptop, with the bottom screen turning into a keyboard. Samsung Display would provide the folding screens, Intel the processor and Microsoft the OS adapted for the form factor.
The prototype being shown off at CES 2020
The Horseshoe Bend Project is open, and “17-inch panels will be supplied as standardized products to Lenovo, Dell, and HP” said a representative from the industry who is familiar with the Horseshoe Bend Project. “Foldable panel is expected to go into mass-production at the end of 2021.”
While the screen, processor and OS will be standardized, the other elements of the laptops, however, will be open for OEMs to innovate on. And with the screens only being mass-produced later this year it seems likely the first products will only be launched in 2022, just in time for Microsoft to finish Windows 10x, their OS which was originally designed for folding screens, but which has now instead been adapted for standard laptops.