Lenovo has shown-off the world's first foldable-screen PC at the giant CES show in Las Vegas.

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It's almost the same as a prototype demo'd pre-Christmas (see video below) bar the addition of a Windows Hello facial-recognition camera.

But it now has a name - the ThinkPad X1 Fold, a price - US$2499 ($3538), and a rough release time - mid-year.


Meanwhile, Lenovo's NZ operation is celebrating market share gains in a New Zealand PC market that is hard-scrabble overall.

The X1 Fold with its optional Bluetooth keyboard, which attaches magnetically to a folded-up Fold for easy carrying. Photo / Supplied
The X1 Fold with its optional Bluetooth keyboard, which attaches magnetically to a folded-up Fold for easy carrying. Photo / Supplied

The X1's Fold is the result of a four-year R&D collaboration with LG Display, and is part of an emerging foldable-screen fad that also includes Samsung's Galaxy Fold phone/tablet, Huawei's Mate X1 and Lenovo's reboot of Motorola's classic Razr.

It unfurls to a 13.7-inch tablet. Or, when in a more conventional laptop position, the bottom-half of the screen can be used as a virtual keyboard. If you prefer the real thing, there's a Bluetooth physical keyboard that snaps on magnetically.

Microsoft is bringing out a special software for bendy-screen laptops (also on the way from HP, Dell and Asus) called Windows 10X, but it's unclear when it will emerge. The X1 Fold was demo'd with Windows 10 Pro, customised with some extra icons.

By all accounts, the X1 Fold is a stunner, with the seam in the folding display barely visible. All going well, a review unit should land at NZME Towers in the coming months, so I'll let you know how that goes.

Lenovo also used CES to demo the Yoga 5G, which it bills as the first laptop with the new mobile technology built-in. It'll sell for US$1499 ($2122) from autumn, with local release details yet to be confirmed.

Vodafone launched its 5G mobile network in December, while Spark is angling for a July launch.

Meanwhile, IDC figures show that despite 2019 being a tough year for the local PC market overall, Lenovo increased its standing and saw revenue jump.


"Despite a declining New Zealand PC market, Lenovo has been experiencing a strong 5 per cent year-on-year market share growth for FY2019," Lenovo ANZ managing director Matt Codrington says.

The Lenovo boss says boosting local staff numbers was one of the key reasons beyond the local gains.

IDC analyst Liam Landon says PC shipments into the NZ market dropping 4.7 percent last year.

However, the picture brightens somewhat if you broaden the traditional definition of a personal computer.

Some 690,435 laptop and desktop were shipped in the NZ market in the year to June 2019.

But if you include "slate" tablets Apple's iPad and detachable tablets make by the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft - where a laptop's keyboard can be unclipped then the display function like a tablet - then the total PC market measures 994,005 units (and iPad maker Apple, which is pushing a cover with a built-in keyboard for its just-released seventh-generation iPad, jumps into second spot - see tables below).

Codrington says Lenovo was also first-to-market with a 5G smartphone, and it's looking to 5G upgrades from December to drive growth for its "Moto" series.

NZ PC shipments. Source / IDC
NZ PC shipments. Source / IDC

The Beijing-based Lenovo gained international profile after it bought IBM's laptop business, including its ThinkPad brand in 2005.

And in 2014, Lenovo bought Motorola's handset business from Google for around US$3 billion (Android maker Google bought Motorola Mobility from its US parent in 2011 as a weapon in its patent war against several other tech giants).