Wistron presents 17-inch foldable tablet concept that can transform into a laptop and all-in-one desktop
Even though foldable screens are already available in select smartphones and laptops, the fragility and esthetic issues caused by the apparent creases are still strong minuses that discourage many device makers to adopt the technology. One solution for these problems would be rollable screens, but there is no decently priced commercial implementation for this technology as of yet. Right now you can try out the foldable phones from Samsung, Motorola or Huawei, and if you need a foldable laptop, you can get the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. However, these devices are still quite pricey and offer relatively small screens. For a bigger screen and expanded functionality, we could consider Wistron’s latest Foldbook device that can act as a tablet, laptop and desktop.
Not really familiar with Wistron? That is because Wistron is a Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM), hence it sells designs rather than final products like OEMs. The design for the Foldbook tablet already earned a place among the finalists of this year’s IF Design Awards, so the potential for a final product is increased. As a tablet, the Foldbook offers a pretty big touch display with a 17-inch diagonal, built-in speakers and at least two USB-C ports. This would probably make for a great graphics tablet or small monitor (comes with kickstand), but would not really be too portable.
When folded at its middle, the tablet transforms into a 10-inch laptop. Users have a choice to utilize one of the folded halves as a touch keyboard, or they can add a detachable physical keyboard that snaps onto the display via magnets. Wistron's concept also includes a docking station with more ports and a larger speaker, essentially transforming the tablet into an all-in-one PC. The dock offers three more USB-C ports (Thunderbolt-ready), 2x USB-A ports, one HDMI video output and a GbE jack.
It would be interesting to see a major OEM license this design and implement it into a commercial product. With the current global chip shortages and high prices for the foldable displays, this seems highly unlikely. Maybe in a few years from now.