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Daily Authority: 💻 Foldable-screen laptops galore

New foldable-screen laptops at IFA, a foldable Pixel, Alexa playing songs about poop, and more tech news today.
By
September 2, 2022
Lenovo X1 Fold split screen book mode
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

🧑‍💻 Happy Friday! This weekend will cap off IFA in Germany, and we have lots more announcements (and awards) coming over the weekend. For now, though, I want to highlight a form factor that we think has the potential to shake up a product category that hasn’t really evolved in decades.

Foldable laptops are coming, and not just for early adopters

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED 4 Tablet Mode front view
Ryan McLeod / Android Authority
Asus Zenbook 17 Fold

Yes, I’m talking about foldable laptops. Or foldable-screen laptops? Whatever you want to call them, we went hands-on with two new models at IFA 2022 in Berlin: the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold and the Lenovo X1 Fold (2022). Both managed to impress us, and although there are still a few kinks to be worked out in the form factor, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more foldable laptops in the near future.

The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is a pricey first effort

  • This is Asus’ first attempt at a foldable laptop, and it managed to sway our own Bogdan Petrovan to change his mind about foldable laptops in his short time with the device.
  • It’s a large, 17-inch tablet that folds into a 12-inch laptop with an included magnetic keyboard attachment.
  • The keyboard can also be used free-standing, with the OLED screen propped up with a built-in kickstand. It’s like a large portable monitor or all-in-one PC.
  • When not in use, the keyboard stows away between the folded screen, into a nice little package that’s easy to carry around.
  • Asus also promises military-grade durability, with 30,000 folds over the lifetime of the device, which works out to roughly five years of use.
  • Check out our video to see the folding screen in action.
  • However, the screen is plastic instead of ultrathin glass, and the glossy finish isn’t the most premium.
  • It’s also not compatible with a stylus due to the fragile nature of the plastic screen.
  • The real kicker is the price: $3,500. This elicited an audible gasp from the crowd at IFA.
  • Then again, foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 are nearly $2,000, and that’s just a phone.
  • Although we’ll reserve full judgment for our review, we still think this first-generation product isn’t great for most people.
  • Then again, this isn’t about mass market appeal. It’s about opening roadways for future devices.

The Lenovo X1 Fold (2022) is a steady improvement

Lenovo X1 Fold in split screen portrait mode with keyboard
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
Lenovo X1 Fold
  • Our Editor in Chief Kris Carlton got to check out Lenovo’s second-generation X1 Fold, and once again came away impressed.
  • It’s significantly larger than the 2019 version, increasing from 13.3 inches to 16 inches of real estate.
  • Functionally it’s very similar to the Zenbook 17 Fold, but it’s slightly smaller and a bit heavier.
  • However, the reinforced foldable screen is compatible with a stylus, which adds a whole new level of productivity.
  • It also has speakers, microphones, and ports that work in all orientations, so no matter how you use it, you’ll get full functionality.
  • Despite these new features, the new edition of the X1 Fold retains the $2,500 starting price of the original.
  • Our initial reaction is that this is still a niche device, but it’s the closest thing to a true consumer product that exists on the market.
  • If you are in the market for a laptop, here are the products we recommend in 2022.

Roundup

📸 Sony announced the Xperia 5 IV earlier this week, but it’s missing a key feature that gives the line its identity (Android Authority).

🙏 Rumor suggests Google is still working on a foldable, likely to come in 2023 (Android Authority).

📈 Speaking of foldables, Samsung’s latest foldables doubled shipments in one key region, mostly on the back of the Z Flip 4 (Android Authority).

🐤 Twitter starts testing an edit button, but you have to pay for it (The Verge).

👓 Lenovo announces consumer AR glasses that can tether to iPhones (Arstechnica).

🛰️ Great news for rural areas: Android 14 will bring direct satellite support to smartphones (Android Authority).

🧑‍💻 The USB Promoter Group has announced USB 4 version 2.0, with a whopping 80Gbps of bandwidth (Tom’s Hardware).

🎮 Halo Infinite is finally getting Forge Mode, but it comes at the cost of split-screen co-op (IGN).

💰 Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard will be sent for an in-depth review unless it addresses UK watchdog’s concerns (Bloomberg).

Friday fun

Amazon Echo Glow Tap Orange
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

Anyone with an Amazon Alexa at home knows that the tech doesn’t always correctly answer your query, but adding children into the equation further complicates things. But for musicians with songs about poop, this has unexpectedly led to huge profits.

Essentially, when a kid tells Alexa to “Play the poop song,” the service searches through Amazon Music to find the closest match. For artists, this offers a level of discoverability not found on Spotify or YouTube. One artist, Matt Farley, told Buzzfeed News that 30% of his income comes from Amazon Music, despite it being far less popular than other services. He estimates that his big hit, “Poop Poop Poop Poop Song” has been streamed 8 million times on the service.

Tired of listening to poop songs your kid asks for? Here’s how to change Alexa’s name and prevent it from happening.

Have a great weekend,

Nick Fernandez, Editor.