Folding screen phones are an interesting niche market with at least some flagship products, such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. Folding screen laptops are pretty much conceptual. To date, only a couple have gone on sale, like the Lenovo X1 Fold. Most others, like Dell’s Ori concept, are still only prototypes.
Asus dives into the deep end of the pool at CES 2022, not with an iPad-like 13-inch screen, but with a larger 17-inch folding OLED display called the Asus ZenBook 17 Fold. Asus calls it “the world’s first 17.3-inch foldable OLED laptop,” which is, I guess, as I think I may have seen something similar.
This 2,560×1,920, 4:3 aspect ratio touchscreen can be folded behind a Bluetooth keyboard to feel like a 17-inch all-in-one desktop. Or, it could fold in half and become a 12.5-inch clamshell laptop with an on-screen keyboard at the bottom. There’s a custom software package to decide which half-folded display should appear on different apps, as Windows isn’t quite as sensible yet.
The system will be powered by 12th generation Intel processors and will have 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage along with WiFi 6 and 75Wh battery. It’s about 3.75lbs, not counting the bluetooth keyboard, which seems reasonable. For comparison, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is about 4.8 pounds. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, some more than others.
It’s one of those devices that I really regret not getting a chance to see in person at CES 2022. No pricing yet, but Asus says it’s coming “mid-year” in 2022.
Google demonstrated high ambitions for its phones when the tech giant launched the well-received Pixel 6 series in 2021. Now, it appears that Google is aiming to take its hardware to another level: Its first foldable phone is reportedly in the works for a 2022 launch.
Although the name of the phone is nowhere to be confirmed, I’ll call it Google’s Pixel Fold for now. Whatever nickname Google ultimately decides to run, the fact that Google is developing a foldable phone in the first place isn’t a surprise.
Apart from the plethora of rumours, there have been leaks of internal documents as well as steps taken by Google over the years to indicate that a bendy handset is in the works.
In December 2018, it filed a patent application for a foldable device, and in May 2019 Google confirmed that it was a prototype of the folding technology. In addition, Google supports foldable phones with its Android 12L platform to develop the technology on the software side.
Whether or not we’ll be able to buy a foldable phone from Google later this year is still not confirmed. But display analyst Ross Young tweeted that a foldable Pixel would launch in the last quarter of 2022 — “probably October.”
Google isn’t the only marquee name in big tech that’s reported to have thrown its hat into the foldable phone ring. For a long time there were rumors that Apple was gearing up to do the same. CNET has also covered all the buzz surrounding the so-called iPhone Flip.
The animations found in Android 12L, Google’s software designed specifically for larger-screen devices like tablets and foldable phones, have hinted at the Pixel Fold’s possible appearance.
The Google Foldable was initially rumored to be similar in design to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 with a taller and slimmer design, with an estimated aspect ratio of 22.5:18. But according to 9to5Google and other media outlets that have reviewed Android 12L animations, the open-up Pixel Fold is more likely to resemble the square shape of Oppo’s foldable phone, the Find N.
When closed, its aspect ratio is assumed to be close to 18:9. If that’s true, it would mean that, like the Find N, the Pixel Fold could be more natural to use as a regular phone when it’s turned off.
There haven’t been many rumors about the Pixel Fold’s camera, but there’s room for some speculation, courtesy of 9to5Google. The website is reporting that the Pixel Fold will have two front-facing 8-megapixel lenses, one possibly on the cover and one for the interior, as well as a 12-megapixel rear camera.
The main sensor is expected to be a step down from the Pixel 6 series, as it is rumored to rely on Sony’s IMX363 sensor, which was used in the Pixel 3 in 2018, as Samsung’s top-of-the-line GN1 was the opposite of the sensor. The main 50-megapixel camera of the Pixel 6 series.