Samsung’s ambitions with foldable displays in consumer electronics won’t stop at building and launching one of the first smartphones with a foldable screen. Not to be outdone by PC rival Lenovo, which was reported to be working with LG Display on plans to launch a laptop with a foldable screen, Samsung announced that it is also working on a notebook with a large foldable screen that will leverage technologies found in flexible displays.
“Like foldable smartphones, Samsung is collaborating with display makers to develop laptops with foldable displays that will not just simply fold in and out but create new value and user experience, amid the changing market trends for laptops,” Samsung vice president of PC marketing Lee Min-cheol said, according to Patently Apple.
Creating new value for the novel user experience isn’t something that hardware companies like Samsung are grappling with. Microsoft, which has its own hardware business under the Surface branding, was also widely believed to be working on a compact PC with a dual-screen display known as Project Andromeda. However, it’s been reported that Microsoft shelved its plans for the dual-screen device because it did not find a compelling use case for the device. And lacking a clear use, it would be hard for marketing teams to ask consumers to justify what will likely be a premium for the new technology.
A recent Microsoft patent filing revealed that Microsoft may be reconsidering its dual-display strategy for Project Andromeda by going with a new hinge design and a single flexible display that can fold. If Microsoft does release such a product, the idea may be similar to Samsung’s strategy with its foldable smartphone and laptop. Microsoft may also be exploring concepts for a laptop with a flexible display, according to earlier patent filings.
Earlier this year, Intel worked with a PC partners Asus and Lenovo to show off prototypes of dual-screen laptops. Though these devices, referred to as Tiger Rapids, replace the keyboard portion of a traditional clamshell notebook with a second screen, they don’t come with a single, large foldable display that Samsung’s Min-cheol referenced. In a separate report on Patently Apple, Samsung said that it “will continue developing innovative PCs with partners like Intel and Microsoft.”
A foldable display will offer the convenience of a smaller footprint for travel when folded, but can expand to a larger, more immersive display to consume content when it’s opened. In the past, Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh stressed that a folding smartphone would be “really meaningful to our customers.” In addition to Samsung, Huawei is also working on a folding phone that can open up to a tablet-size screen.
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