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Daily Authority: 💻 Asus drops a foldable laptop

Asus and Lenovo have fun new 17-inch laptop ideas, Google's catch-up with Apple, and more tech news you need to know today!
By
January 6, 2022
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Asus

👋 Good morning! Finally, things are calming down a little but well done if you’ve kept up this week!

Weird big laptops!

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Asus

Asus put out one of the top bits of news of this long crazy week of CES 2022 with the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. This follows some two years after Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1, the first foldable laptop, a more svelte 13-inch device.

  • The Zenbook 17 is, as you may have guessed, a 17.3-inch foldable display laptop, with Dolby Vision and Atmos support, Thunderbolt 4 …and it folds in half.
  • That lets you use it in a few different ways: unfolded and flat like a tablet, propped up with a kickstand, or in a traditional half-open format at a 90-degree angle (as you can see in the image above).
  • In any of those configurations you can type on the touch-display itself, or use a detachable keyboard if you prefer physical keys.
  • If you attach the included keyboard, it’s effectively a 12.5-inch laptop with Full HD resolution.
  • It runs on a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 U-Series processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB storage, and software to split screen the device and rearrange windows.
  • A big issue to solve is battery life: the X1 Fold struggled, and this has a 75Wh battery from the spec sheet, but perhaps tellingly, no battery life estimates yet.
  • Otherwise we await pricing, and availability is set for mid-2022.
  • The X1 Fold started at about $2,500, and I don’t know if we’ll get much of a price-cut from there?

Also: Lenovo’s ThinkBook Plus Gen 3

ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 Hero
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

And don’t think Lenovo is going to let Asus one-up it when it comes to cool/weird/intriguing new laptops.

  • Lenovo finally put out the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3: another big 17.3-inch laptop.
  • This unit has a built-in, touch-sensitive secondary 8-inch LCD screen, crammed in next to the keyboard, all for $1,399.
  • I don’t know about this! It seems both strange to push the keyboard way off center, but also semi-useful: Lenovo told the media people could use it for drawing or editing images, use it while editing long documents, as a “magic launcher” for frequently used app icons, to mirror a smartphone, and/or push Spotify or Twitter down to the second-screen.
  • Those actual use cases really are a per-person thing but I very much look forward to reviews and trying the thing out!

Roundup

🤝 Google is bringing Fast Pair to all the things, from smart TVs to Chromebooks, finally bringing some Apple-like harmony to its ecosystem and integrations. It’ll all be part of Google’s “Better Together” initiative, and might take most of 2022 to play catch-up, given Google didn’t exactly set firm dates for many of its announcements (Android Authority).

📁 Samsung has shown off four new styles of foldable tech at CES 2022, for both smartphones and laptops, including the Flex S, where three panels fold out in an S-shape, and something similar to the Oppo Find X 2021 (Android Authority).

💻 Asus introduces new ZenBooks, Chromebooks, and more at CES 2022 (Android Authority).

💻 Along with the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3, Lenovo also unveiled ThinkPad X1 laptops with better webcams and mics, plus a new Nano, it updated its 2022 Lenovo Yoga laptops as well, and Legion 5 gaming laptops were refreshed, plus new gaming monitors, too (Android Authority).

🐍 Razer announced: a crazy new modular gaming desk PC concept, a haptic gaming chair, and is also offering a new smart home platform with a mobile app and partnerships (Android Authority).

😬 Really weird stuff here: HMD admits it screwed up Android 11 rollout for Nokia phones and HMD released a ton of cheap Nokia smartphones for the US, including one with a chipset from 2014?? (Android Authority).

🥽 Meta was going to try and not use Android for it’s VR/AR operating system, but those plans are on hold now? (The Verge).

💌 Drone carrying a defibrillator saves its first heart attack patient in Sweden (The Verge).

🏥 How do you design a better hospital? Start with the light (Wired).

🤔 “ELI5: Why do we have RAM sticks with a speed of 2,666MHz instead of easier numbers like 2,700MHz?” (r/explainlikeimfive)

Throwback Thursday

Motorola StarTAC clamshell phone

Back on January 3, 1996, Motorola released the StarTAC, the first truly portable cellular phone, made by Motorola and unveiled in 1996. Its cost? About $1,800 in current terms, or $1,000 back then.

  • The Wall Street Journal in 1996, more or less was full of praise, saying: “Star Trek might be a more appropriate name for the new phone. Much like that syndicated television show’s communicator, the StarTac opens up with a flip of the wrist.”
  • The exacting history of devices tells us the StarTac wasn’t the first flip-phone ever, but it sure was the most successful.
  • PC World called it the sixth greatest gadget of the past 50 years (behind the Walkman and iPod), and CNET wrote something recently remembering it for blowing up the world of mobile phones, much like the iPhone did 11 years later, almost to the day.

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.