LG has its own folding PC now, but good luck getting your hands on one
The 'Gram Fold' looks limited to LG's home of Korea
LG has become the latest hardware maker to try taking foldable screens beyond the smartphone space and into a laptop computer. But don't get too excited, folding gadget fans, this one looks like it won't be widely sold.
The South Korean tech chaebol announced the LG Gram Fold over the weekend, sharing details of a 17-inch OLED device that can be folded in half to become a 12-inch laptop, along with accompanying accessories like a Bluetooth keyboard that can be rested on top of the bottom half of the screen to make the device more like a proper laptop.
Aside from that, the device packs a 13th-generation Intel Core i5-1335U processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage space, a 72Wh battery, a pair of USB-C ports, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 support.
If that’s a combo you would contemplate purchasing - sorry: It looks like the LG Gram Fold is going to be a South Korean exclusive when orders open in early October. "LG Electronics is selling this new Gram product in limited quantities," the company said in an announcement.
No plans for availability outside of Korea were mentioned, and LG hasn't responded to questions from The Register.
₩4.99 million? In this economy?
Then there's the price for the LG Gram Fold: A whopping 4.99 million won, or around $3,650. That's not as expensive as some of the other foldables out there, like HP's $4,999 Spectre Foldable, but it is more expensive than $3,499 ASUS Zenbook Fold and the $2,499 second generation ThinkPad X1 Fold - if the latter ever emerges from development hell onto store shelves.
Lenovo announced the X1 Fold last September but hasn’t announced a shipping date. The outfit’s website lists the machine as "coming soon". Speculation on forums is rampant as to the status of the second generation X1 Fold, with Lenovo representatives being obtuse and commenters expressing frustration with a lack of information from the company.
Marco Grieco Wang-Andresen, Lenovo's global chief operating officer, told The Register that the biz plans to have the device ready by the end of October, with shipments likely beginning the following month. As to the status of the device, "it's not cancelled in any way," Wang-Andresen told us.
Wang-Andresen also confirmed posts to Lenovo's forums alleging the device was delayed over quality issues, telling us it has been working hard with its panel supplier "to ensure the quality we and our customers expect from a ThinkPad and are where we need to be.”
That said, supply issues may not be the only reason for delays. The company recorded a 75 percent profit decline last year thanks to shrinking demand in the PC market. The quarter prior to that, Lenovo logged its first profit decline in three years. In other words, it hasn't been a great year for Lenovo - why risk things with a new form factor?
- LG Electronics finally gives up cellphone business
- Foldable smartphones crawl to one percent of global market share
- Lenovo reveals rollable laptop and smartphone screens
- Surprising absolutely no one at all, Samsung's folding-screen phones knackered within days
PC sales have been in decline since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world's largest maker of PCs, Lenovo has felt that market contraction keenly. And while some PC market rebound is expected next year, growth is not expected see the market return to volumes experienced in pre-pandemic 2019.
Whether specialized and pricey devices like folding-screen laptops can sell in such a market is unclear, making LG's decision to produce just a limited number of Gram Folds appear sensible. ®