Lenovo has been playing with flexible devices rather than foldables for a while now. Two or three years ago they already had a bracelet phone that flexed and wrapped around the wrist. There’s now a new patent showing another foldable, which seems to adopt some already familiar approaches.
The hinge mechanism feels pretty similar to the one of the Surface devices, particularly the Surface Book. Actually Lenovo is no stranger to that, since the Lenovo Yoga Book’s hinge is rather similar to the Surface Book one. It’s not very clear if Lenovo set out to create a foldable PC or smartphone.
If it’s a phone the Surface Book approach would make it rather bulky. The patent dates from September 2018 and it’s available now on the US Patent and Trademark Office website. It mentions a connecting assembly that includes multiple link members, a hanging hole-shaped fixing structure with openings and link members.
Sources say that what we’re seeing here will end up as a Windows 10 foldable device, closer to a tablet and laptop than a smartphone. A hinge and a shaft will be used to couple the first and second part of the machine. I have a feeling Lenovo will take its time before releasing such a device, as it doesn’t feel finalized.
By the way, Microsoft wasn’t the first with such a hinge, since I have a feeling Lenovo used it first on older 2 in 1 devices.