With foldable phones becoming more popular, the foldable laptop market is starting to grow as well. HP has joined the effort and is reportedly working on a massive 17-inch laptop with a foldable OLED display, according to South Korean publication, The Elec.
Clamshell laptops technically already fold closed, but a foldable device refers to the display itself. So a foldable laptop would have its display folded in half, with the bottom half being used as a software keyboard or with a physical keyboard slid over the top of it.
The big challenge facing foldable laptops is what material to make the display out of. Smartphones have settled on using ultrathin glass, and that’s thanks largely to the Samsung foldable lineup like the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. There is no consensus on what display material is best for laptops, though. Compared to the foldable smartphone market (which is still very small), there are next to no foldable laptops available.
As Notebookcheck points, out, The Elec report takes hints in the supply chain to give a glimpse of what is being used. LG and SK IE Technology appear to be providing HP with 10,000 flexible OLED displays made from a thin polyimide film. That’s the same material that was used in the original Galaxy Z Fold.
The first foldable laptop was the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. While that computer had a beautiful display, it was a bit too cramped and uncomfortable to be viable for most people. A few other foldable laptops have been announced since then, like the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold and Samsung Flex Note. Both of these devices learned from the mistakes of the ThinkPad X1 Fold and have 17-inch displays that are more or less equal to a 13-inch display when folded in half.
HP’s unannounced laptop seems to be taking a similar approach with its 17-inch display that folds down into an 11-inch one, and now we know what material it will use. The display will also have a 4K resolution and a touchscreen with stylus support. That could make it a great option for artists and creatives.
The foldable laptop market is small at the moment, but if manufacturers crack the code on it, it could quickly grow to take on the tablet and 2-in-1 markets.
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