2019 from a consumer technology standpoint was supposed to be the year that 5G and foldable displays made an impact. With most of the year behind us, it looks like neither has come to fruition in the way many were hoping – 5G is yet to be made available in South Africa and foldable phones are hard to come by.
While we await spectrum availability to handle the former issue, the latter lies in the hands of hardware manufacturers. Whichever side of the fence you fall on the foldable display debate, it cannot be argued that the technology is still in its infancy and trying to find its feet.
This leads us to Lenovo, with the Chinese firm recently holding its annual Tech World conference in Beijing.
We were on hand to find out more about the company’s “technology for all” ambitions, as well as how product innovation is sparked by customer feedback. One of the more interesting parts of our time in the Chinese capital and Lenovo’s state-of-the-art campus there was the launch of the foldable Motorola razr.
While we have not reviewed the device in full, or any other production-ready foldable phone for that matter, it does feel like a more palatable offering than the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, each of which have had their own issues.
Instead of making things larger, the Motorola razr leans into the fact that it can be made more compact, along with tapping into the nostalgia of the iconic RAZR V3.
The new handset, which isn’t slated for SA at this stage, isn’t the only piece of foldable hardware that Lenovo had on show at Tech World either, with the company giving attendees a better look at the foldable ThinkPad X1 offering it teased earlier in the year.
The device, which straddles the line between ultrabook and tablet is definitely an intriguing prospect, and perhaps a glimpse into the future of premium notebooks.
While that may only be two devices, Lenovo says it has been working on both for a few years now, which means that it has been pondering the use case for foldable devices for some time now.
Like much of the industry, Lenovo is still pondering what the best form factors and features are for foldable devices, and as a result there will be some growing pains, not to mention the devices being far more expensive than their non-folding brethren.
The razr for example costs an estimated $1 500, and there isn’t even a price or release date yet for the foldable ThinkPad, but we have no doubt it will be the most expensive device in the lineup to hit the market to date.
Either it looks as if Lenovo isn’t content with being a bit part player in the foldable display game, and has made a strong statement with its early showings.
With Lenovo leading the way for PCs and notebooks in several territories, and its Motorola business on the rise in markets like Brazil, the Chinese firm could be doubling down on foldable as it looks to be a leader in the Asian market much like Apple is the US one.
As such there are some exciting times ahead for Lenovo, and the company’s press conferences at events like MWC, Computex and IFA, will be watched with a higher degree of interest.