Although foldable phones haven't really taken off in the market yet, it does seem like everyone last year was rushing to produce some. Now, Intel has gone and designed a gigantic foldable PC.
Called Horseshoe Bend, the PC's OLED display is 4:3 and 17.3 inches diagonal when unfolded and when folded falls into the equivalent of a 12.5-inch laptop. You can use an on-screen keyboard, which might not be the most comfortable option, or magnetically attach a detachable keyboard on. The keyboard fits seamlessly into the device when folded.
"Horseshoe Bend can be used in a number of postures for varying user experiences: laptop, all-in-one, lay-flat, canvas or book," writes Intel. The folding PC is an impressive feat of engineering but chances are it won't be in the market any time soon.
For starters, it is powered by Intel's next-generation mobile chip, Tiger Lake, slated to arrive later in 2020. For another, Intel will need to persuade PC makers to turn its prototype into their own product.
Is there promise for that? Very possibly. Foldable phones are starting to be in demand because they offer the productivity and entertainment made possible only on big screens.
Intel's Horseshoe Bend takes that idea to the max offering a wider screen than could be imagined. But foldable technology, for now, is still expensive and a bit rough around the edges.
Regardless, it seems Horseshoe Bend is making an impact. "This product is the culmination of phones, tablets and PCs. It's going to move the needle," said to CNET Niraj Bali, senior engineering director at Intel's Client Platform Engineering group.
However, Intel is still not revealing how durable the device is or how much it will cost. It goes without saying that that can be problematic.
Still, with players like Lenovo already releasing folding-screen PC prototypes - in May Lenovo boasted about the ThinkPad X1, a folding-screen PC with a 13-inch screen- it seems there is a future for the folding PC. Will that future be Intel's Horseshoe Bend? Only time will tell.