In the world of hybrid work, professionals have assembled extensive work-from-home setups to get their best work done. Complete with a monitor, docking station, keyboard, camera, tablet, and more. But what if you could fold all of that technology into a PC the size of a legal pad?
This is the bold vision behind the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED powered by 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 U-series processors—the world’s first 17-inch foldable laptop and a revolutionary PC design. The versatile form factor enables people to maximize their productivity for anything and anywhere, while introducing a state-of-the-art, thin-and-light design.
"The industry firsts on the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED are the culmination of years of innovation, ideas, and co-engineering. This design proves foldables offer unique experiences and utility that people want." — Rex Lee, Corporate Vice President and Head of the PC Business Unit, ASUS
Groundbreaking 17-Inch Display Withstands up to 30,000+ Folding Cycles
Creating a device with multiple modes uncovered a list of form factor challenges, like where to place the camera, microphone, and speakers. The first step in delivering on this foldable design was ensuring a large display could easily and reliably fold in half, over and over again. Foldable phones showed that a fragile display or hinge could break with extended use.
A key advancement was integrating a new display panel spec for large-screen foldable that Intel co-developed with the display vendor, BOE. Then, ASUS and Intel began to experiment and problem-solve. The teams tried different thicknesses for each display layer—from the touch layer to the OLED, to the support layer—ultimately landing on a very thin display with maximum support and minimum spring back. The teams also developed a 180-degree, precision-engineered hinge for optimized circuitry and easy-to-use functionality.
After finalizing the design, the PC was stress-tested over more than 30,000 bend cycles. This means people can purchase with confidence, knowing that the hinge and panel will stand up to everyday usage.
Custom Middleware Enables Versatile Postures and Modes
Hardware was only the start. Since this was a new form factor, there wasn’t any existing software infrastructure for its multiple different modes and postures. The solution: Intel developed customized middleware—software that lies between an operating system and the applications running on it–that, could be as flexible and durable as the design itself.
The middleware automatically and seamlessly adapts depending on usage mode. The solution moves windows across the screen to optimize each mode. It also integrates audio speakers and video cameras to enable experiences like video conferencing.
“The introduction of a new device category is like creating a dish on a menu—it must cater to the known flavors of other dishes while carefully exploring new and exciting ingredients. For the foldable category, Intel and ASUS paired past user behaviors with innovation – curating new usages through breakthrough technologies in hardware and software.” — Gokul Subramaniam | Vice President & General Manager Client Platform & Systems, Intel
Optimizing Thermals & Power Consumption for a Foldable Form Factor
Working from anywhere demands impressive performance and battery life. Persistent challenges were amplified on a foldable laptop, which has additional design constraints and different levels of power consumption for different modes.
In response, Intel conducted human-led research on the power consumption of different modes and what share of time people were likely to spend in each mode. These baseline insights informed optimization models. This empowered ASUS and Intel to make complex decisions on how to dissipate heat, keeping performance high and temperatures low.
The design harnesses 12th Generation Intel Core i7 U-series processors, designed for mobile, power-efficient PCs, and features Intel’s ground-breaking performance hybrid architecture. Two Performance-cores handle demanding workloads, while eight Efficient-cores run background tasks for smooth multitasking. The team also used Intel Visual Sensing Controller to dim the screen automatically when a person looks or moves away for efficient power consumption and thermals.
Powering the Future of Foldables
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED provides a vital tool for hybrid work and defines a baseline for the future of the foldable category.
People can choose the right form factor for every activity they do throughout the day, including experiences that work best on a large screen. Now, you can access these almost anywhere.
The technology that enables foldable PCs has continued to mature, and people have a clear desire for these innovative, flexible form factors. ASUS and Intel have proven, with the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, that the foldable PC is an innovative and useful design that can meet the needs of customers. In the coming years, you can expect to see many different foldable laptops that elevate every kind of PC experience.
Intel is continuing to collaborate with OEMs and ecosystem leaders to create the future of foldables. Our vision is to deliver purposeful computing to unlock people’s potential – allowing each person to focus, create, and connect in ways that matter most to them.