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Microsoft could be among the next major tech co’s to release a foldable tablet, with rumors mounting they will launch a folding Surface device in 2020.
The tip comes courtesy of research firm IHS Markit who told Forbes the device could be unveiled as soon as early next year.
So, what would a foldable Surface device involve?
Forbes reports the foldable Surface is expected to have two 9-inch screens with a 4:3 aspect ratio. They go on to note it’s unclear at this point whether that means it will have a foldable display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold or whether it will feature two displays that fold together.
Either way, the folding edge will also reportedly be reinforced by a sturdy hinge, and the device will include support for a 5G connection.
Meanwhile, it’s tipped to run the new Windows 10 operating system that allows for a dual screen interface and will also be capable of running Android apps and the iCloud service.
On the inside, it could be set to boast an Intel 10 nanometer (nm) system-on-a-chip (SOC) Lakefield, with PC World previously noting Lakefield-based PCs may come with dual displays, folding screens, “and other innovative form factors”.
Should Microsoft embrace a foldable future with a Surface tablet, they will join a growing list of manufacturers banking on a new mobile device trend.
In February, Samsung officially wrote history as the first major phone giant to unveil a foldable smart phone in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It’s since been subject to delays as the company works on design refinements but is tipped to be almost ready to hit the market.
In the meantime, Huawei also announced a foldable phone four days after Samsung’s big reveal. The Huawei Mate X is currently slated for release by September as it awaits the rollout of the 5G network in key markets like the UK and China.
On the tablet front, Lenovo flagged a foldable future for tablets in May, releasing a 13.3-inch prototype that allows the mobile device to fold in half.
Unveiled to a handful of tech experts, the device is squarely aimed at delivering all your computing needs in one neat little product that bridges the gap between tablet and laptop in an entirely new way.
At present the tablet comes with a somewhat complex working title of ‘Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable tablet prototype’, and there’s no official word on when it will launch.
As Tech Radar notes the growing list of foldable devices that are rumored or confirmed as being due for release indicates the differences between phone, tablet and two-in-one are steadily receding.
Soon it seems, one device might accommodate all uses, but the path to a foldable future is still set to be tested.
At present no device has officially become available for sale, and those that are pending come with a very steep price tag.
“As foldable phones like the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold get closer to launching, the lines between smartphone, tablet and laptop are beginning to blur – although it may take even these giant tech titans some time to perfect the balance between affordability and reliability,” Tech Radar explains.