The ThinkPad X1 Nano will be available in the fourth quarter starting at $1,599. The ThinkPad X1 Fold with Windows 10 will start at $2,499 after being previewed at CES 2020 and teased in 2019 and 2017.
With the launches, Lenovo is the latest technology vendor to push into foldable devices at commercial scale. Foldable devices to date have revolved around the smartphone-meets-tablet form factor.
Recent developments include:
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review: Foldable perfection nearly achieved
- Royole's new 5G FlexPai 2 foldable phone revealed: This is what you get for $1,500
- Surface Duo review: Why I'm still confused about Microsoft's dual-screen device
- Motorola advances Razr with 5G, better specs, more carriers for $1,399
In an interview, Christian Teismann, president of Lenovo's commercial PC and smart device business, said it has been a five-year march to commercialize the ThinkPad X1 Fold:
We probably created 30 different concepts until we arrived at the one that we finally then started to productize and even from productization to the point that we can ship it, it was a very long journey to really create a product that is as stable and as reliable, to put a ThinkPad name on it. The other challenge of the product is clearly that it is a product that you can use in multiple form factors.
Those multiple form factors required software that could switch into "modes" for various use cases, said Teismann. In addition, the device is also designed to deliver productivity in a work anywhere environment. Teismann said:
It was very important for us to really create a new category with the Fold that really allows people to switch between different modes of operation, but also have this as an all day device. I mean, you can use it as a tablet. You can use it as a productivity device. You can use it as a book when you fold it. And when it folds, it is protected by leather. You have a self-charging keyboard really for productivity, you have a pen. Basically everything in one package with very long battery life, with very good performance and 5g connectivity for ultra mobility.
Lenovo's secret sauce is that it is the first enterprise-ready vendor to push foldable devices into the market.
Of the two foldable devices, the ThinkPad X1 Nano may be most accessible due to price. The X1 Nano is based on the Intel Evo platform and uses 11th Gen Intel Core processors.
The ThinkPad X1 Nano has the following:
- A narrow bezel 13-inch 2K display with 16:10 aspect ratio.
- Available Wi-Fi 6 and optional 5G.
- Processors up to Intel Core i7 with Intel Iris X graphics.
- Ubuntu Linux or Windows 10 Pro.
- Four speakers and four 360-degree microphones for audio and video calls.
Both of Lenovo's foldable laptops are designed to adapt to hybrid remote and office work. The ThinkPad X1 Fold has also become a remote work play.
Lenovo said that it took five years to bring the ThinkPad X1 Fold to market and ushers in what could be a new category of devices. Key points about the ThinkPad X1 Fold include:
- The laptop has options such as a Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard that can be stored and charged in the system.
- A Lenovo Mod Pen for notes and legal docs as well as an easel stand.
- Commercial Vantage 1.2 software for IT administrators to manage fleets.
Is this a new category?
In a blog post, Jerry Paradise, vice president of Lenovo's commercial portfolio and smart device unit, argued that the ThinkPad X1 Fold is not a laptop but a new category.
X1 Fold is NOT a laptop. It has not been designed to be a "catch-all" device for everybody. It's a concept that illustrates the future of computing and offers a window to the potential that such a category can fulfil. In fact, I feel it's time for a major shift in personal computing, and the whole foldable category can and will redefine and reshape how we think of and use personal computing technology. Foldable screens are the future in all display categories and the potential is huge.
The argument from Paradise is that the X1 Fold is among the first "chameleon" personal computing devices that can adapt to various environments. It can be a book, a laptop, a tablet, and a collaboration station, he said.
Lenovo acknowledges that the ThinkPad X1 Fold isn't going to be a volume device but will find various enterprise use cases in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and healthcare.
Teismann said the ThinkPad X1 Fold will find a variety of enterprise uses and with prosumers and small businesses.
It definitely will be an enterprise device. It runs on Windows 10 Pro, so it can be easily integrated in enterprise security, enterprise manageability. I do believe that there is increasingly people in enterprise that are looking for a converged device because they're using it as a pad or as a tablet to take meeting minutes.
We see prosumer, we see enterprise customers for this one, and we probably also see, to a certain degree, university students, if they can afford it. But it is a device that I think is so multipurpose that it has a very broad application in terms of usage.