Foldable laptop screens are coming in 2022

Lenovo X1 Foldable
(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Intel announced that it’s working on a foldable laptop spec during its CES 2022 presentation. While foldable screens aren’t new, they haven’t yet gained traction in the laptop market, which is somewhat strange considering that laptops naturally fold anyway. Intel says the first devices with folding display tech will begin shipping this year. We could see some rather exciting devices and form factors.

The spec is a part of Intel’s Evo platform. It’s essentially a set of guidelines that lay out the features and requirements for thin laptops with a long battery life, fast wakeup and modern connectivity. In some ways Evo can be considered Ultrabook 2.0.

PR slide detailing the announcement of Intel's foldable laptop spec

(Image credit: Intel)

Foldable laptops open up an interesting range of use cases. You could use one as a tablet, a tabletop like you might use a 2-in-1 or even like a book. You can use one as a standard laptop with a virtual keyboard, or add a keyboard accessory. The latter is something that a gamer would likely use. 

Devices with foldable screens aren’t new. Several high end smartphones feature the tech, but it is relatively new for laptops, with notable exceptions such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (opens in new tab). Microsoft was working on a dual screen Surface device but it never came to fruition. At least not yet anyway.

Foldable screens require operating system support, and Windows 11 (opens in new tab) isn’t yet optimised to support foldable display tech. Without that support, foldable laptops won’t be able to gain a significant foothold. It will surely happen in time, and if Intel’s prediction that devices will appear this year is accurate, then Microsoft surely has it penciled in on the roadmap.

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If foldable laptops do become a force in the market, Intel is well positioned. It’s 12th Gen mobile CPUs (opens in new tab) appear to be strong, and its Arc GPUs (opens in new tab) are also poised to appear in larger form factors and devices aimed at gamers.

As we move forward into 2022, we can expect to see Intel and its partners gradually reveal their foldable laptops. Computex in mid year would seem like a good time to show off some designs. It will be interesting to see how AMD will react, if at all. Don’t forget, there’s also Qualcomm. The company believes it is well positioned to capture some of the laptop market (opens in new tab).

The mobile space is looking very exciting in 2022. Stay tuned.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.