Folding laptops at CES 2022 should have learned from mobile’s mistakes

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Folding screens are already a hot topic in the smartphone world, but at CES 2022 they featured more heavily on laptops than ever before, showing that growing technology is moving beyond small handheld devices. However, while laptops all look really cool, familiar problems plague them, which makes me worry that this trend is fueled by misguided companies trying to pique our interest in a new way while innovation is still mobile. But he is struggling to find his feet.

folding laptop

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The Asus ZenBook 17 Fold grabbed the most attention because, according to our Senior Staff Writer Jacob Roach, who tried out the machine at CES 2022, “it’s one of the first real, working foldable laptops.” There have been others, but they are all early prototypes or concepts. The ZenBook 17 Fold’s big selling point is one that echoes that of a folding smartphone: Open it up, and you’re greeted by a larger screen (17-inches in this example), in a case the same size as the non-folding 13-inch. Laptop.

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold Fold.
Jacob Roach / Nerdshala

Asus laptops with folding screens were paired with the Samsung Flex Note, another model with a 17-inch screen folded inside a case the size of a 13-inch laptop. Samsung is a relatively old hand when it comes to folding smartphones, having pioneered the folding mobile trend in 2019 with Huawei. Intel also showed off a foldable laptop display at the show, claiming that the manufacturer will be using that platform on laptops we might buy in 2022.

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Outside of folding laptop screens, CES 2022 was generally a show about screen technology and innovation, with Samsung’s 55-inch curved Odyssey Arc gaming monitor snagging our Best of CES 2022 award, Samsung’s QD Display technology making it It was coming very close to the outside, and Lenovo is adding an 8-inch screen next to the keyboard on the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3. Before we get to crazy concepts like Razer’s Project Sofia desk/monitor mashup.

But none can match the quick-fix visual coolness of a foldable screen.

New hardware, same problems

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Fantastic, isn’t it? well almost. It looks like they came with some familiar issues while we could use folding laptops at CES 2022. This is what Roach had to say about using the Asus ZenBook 17 Fold’s folding screen:

“The screen looks like it has a plastic film on it, turning off the machine looks like it requires both hands, and there was a wave in the middle of the screen where the fold is. It’s about two thin 13- inch notebooks stacked on top of each other, and almost as heavy.”

Screen protection film now extends under the bezel.
Screen protection film now extends under the bezel. Andy Boxel/Nerdshala

If you’ve used the original Samsung Galaxy Fold and its plastic screen cover or felt the rigid hinges on an out-of-the-box Galaxy Z Fold 3, you may be nodding your head in a knowing fashion. We talked a great deal about the Oppo Find N because it narrowed the crease in the center of its unfolded screen, as prominent on other larger folding smartphones and hindered adoption for some. But the Find N is also actually quite thick, and the Z is heavier than the Fold 3.

There’s also the issue of knowing why you want one. The advantages of a larger screen/smaller device are obvious, but what about keyboards, which are so integral to laptops? A peripheral isn’t the prettiest solution. A push to educate buyers about why folding screens are needed on laptops is what companies lacked at CES, and it’s an argument that can still be leveled at phone makers today.

So while folding laptops undoubtedly look good, especially at shows like CES, where there’s so much vying for our attention and products in need of an immediate wow factor, it seems like we’re having the same problems with folding smartphones, The early examples, in particular, are repeating . Worryingly, those issues have clouded opinion about folding smartphones, and doing the same with laptops is unlikely to appeal to newcomers in that segment.

Folding screen needs time

Folding smartphones are expensive, often (somewhat mistakenly) have a reputation for fragility, take some time to get used to, and still have software compatibility issues. Outside of China, the choice is also pretty small, as you can actually buy a Samsung foldable or a Samsung foldable. Things will improve during 2022, Honor will launch a folding smartphone in January and others are likely to arrive, but people still need to be reassured about the folding screen technology.

Samsung Flex Note Folding Laptop Prototype.

I’m not sure if putting a folding screen on a laptop, one of the things we don’t like about folding screens on a smartphone, is the way to do it. CES is a show that lays out the future of technology in a way we can touch and try, and seeing the reception for Asus’s folding laptop reminds me of the first time I saw the Huawei Mate X. saw and touched. Beginning of 2019. The potential was obvious, and the enthusiasm to really fold the thing in half was undeniable, but its downsides were also obvious.

Folding laptops may be a big trend at CES 2022, but as you read about them and suck air between your teeth when you encounter problems with these early models, remember the show’s purpose and How long did it take to fold smartphone? to develop. Launchpad for CES future technology, and the folding smartphones we saw at MWC 2019 took almost three years to become a viable, purchasable product.

It’s really exciting to see laptops with folding screens, as is technology in general, but it may be better for PC makers to learn from the mistakes they saw in the early days of folding smartphones before teasing the model for release in 2022. to ensure that the first impression was absolutely the best it could have been.




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