Lenovo introduces rollable laptop and smartphone screens • The Register

Lenovo has hosted its annual Tech World Gabfest, teasing devices with rollable OLED screens that shrink or expand depending on the needs of the applications.

The company aired the following video to showcase its rollables. We embedded the video and set it to start the moment the rollable phone is demonstrated. The rollable laptop demo starts at the 53 second mark.

Youtube video

Lenovo hasn’t explained how the rollables work, and the video above doesn’t show the back of the prototype rollable smartphone and laptop.

That’s important because there’s no way to tell if Lenovo is hiding an awful mess back there or is close to having a viable product. Also note that electronics manufacturers are usually careful to avoid moving parts as they will break. The devices shown in the videos move – a lot. More so than the foldable screens that have appeared in recent years and drawn criticism for requiring bulky hinges and collecting dust and dirt on folds.

Luca Rossi, president of Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group, said content will scale as screens expand and contract, suggesting it’s actually very useful for… things. But his comments suggest that rollables is as much about offering Lenovo a differentiated product for sale as it is about improving productivity. He cited Lenovo’s form factor footprint to date — with products like convertible laptops with 360-degree hinges and foldable PCs — as the kind of cleverness that propelled the Chinese company to the top of the PC sales charts.

Just don’t mention that the foldable kit probably didn’t help Lenovo get there — analysts rate foldable smartphones as years away from the mainstream.

While you’re waiting for rollable devices, last month Lenovo offered another screen-extending option: an app called Freestyle that allows PCs to use Lenovo tablets as a second screen or for touch input.

Apple and Samsung already offer this functionality, eclipsing Lenovo’s 8.7 piece of the pie with 31 and 18 percent market share, respectively. Improving the performance of its tablets could help Lenovo catch up a bit, or maybe offer some bundling opportunities.

The event featured some other new additions, such as Lenovo’s recently updated range of data center kits and its ambition to offer various VR devices, such as the front-mounted monitor launched last month.

A new initiative the company unveiled is that it and VMware signed a memorandum of understanding to build a lab focused on enabling hyper-converged infrastructures at the network edge and building “edge-native” applications and infrastructure modernizations. This is industry jargon that allows converged servers and storage to be used in places like 5G cells, preferably to run apps on top of Kubernetes, with everything being software-defined, rather than relying on older and less flexible tightly coupled architectures. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/19/lenovo_rollable_laptop_smartphone_concept/ Lenovo introduces rollable laptop and smartphone screens • The Register

Rick Schindler

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