Lenovo flashes hinge-free, ThinkPad laptop concept with a bending screen

lenovo bendable thinkpad notebook prototype teased

During the Lenovo Transform event in New York City, Lenovo Senior Vice President Christian Teismann revealed a concept design showcasing where Lenovo wants to take the ThinkPad brand. The device was presented via a slide showcasing a laptop-like form factor with no hinge. Instead, the device featured a foldable, unibody design with a screen that could bend as well.

“This is more than just design, or look and feel. It’s a new set of advanced materials and new screen technologies,” he told the audience. “It’s how you can speak to it, or write on it, or how it speaks to you. Always connected. Always on.”

He added that the future ThinkPad would have the ability to communicate on multiple inputs and outputs. He also indicated that the device would rely heavily on artificial intelligence so that it could anticipate the user’s next meeting, next vacation, and every task.

Based on the slide, Lenovo’s prototype does not have a touchpad. Instead, the device includes what appears to be left/right mouse buttons and a flattened mouse wheel complemented by a red TrackPoint button seated within the keyboard. Also not present are actual ports for Ethernet, USB devices, and HDMI output to keep the paper-thin form factor.

In addition to the bending shape, what is interesting about this prototype is the actual screen that extends well below the “bend” to connect with the keyboard. He also indicated that users could write directly on the screen with the typical pencil. The screen itself suggests OLED panel technology for its high brightness, brilliant colors, and low power requirement.

A display you can “roll” is not anything new, but getting the remaining hardware to fit within the proposed super-slim form, in addition to the keyboard, will be an interesting feat. The latest LG Gram laptop measures just 0.6 inches closed and it is extremely thin and light.

In addition to teasing the Lenovo Transform attendees with a prototype, Teismann said that a special edition of its ThinkPad laptop will be officially revealed in October. As part of the ThinkPad brand’s 25-year anniversary, the laptop will include “throwback” features of past models while sporting the best, most powerful features of today.

Overall, the Lenovo Transform event revealed new products for the business and enterprise sectors including the ThinkStation P320 Tiny sporting a discrete Nvidia Quadro P600 graphics chip. Teismann called it the world’s smallest professional workstation, and in his hand the device resembled a set-top-box for streaming media. It has “the power of a tower” despite its small size.

Lenovo just refreshed its ThinkPad lineup in May with the Yoga 370, the T470, the T470p, the T470s, and more. The company even introduced the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 dock along with the ThinkPad USB-C dock.