If you asked me about Chromebook hardware innovation lately, I’d say it’s stagnated. Each year we see the next cycle of CPUs or updated webcams and… that’s about it. Surely that will change once Chromebooks with Nvidia graphics arrive. But an even more profound potential innovation is more interesting to me: A rollable display Chromebook using tech from the concept laptop Lenovo is showing off at Mobile World Congress.
A display that grows
It turns out we didn’t have to wait for this event to see the laptop with an expanding display. Lenovo actually showed it off, along with a phone using a similar concept, a few months back. Here’s a look at that demonstration; the laptop is near the end of the brief video.
Right off the bat, I love this technology applied to a phone. I jump between a standard sized handset and a small tablet multiple times daily. A phone that can expand its screen might bridge that gap for me.
And a rolling display Chromebook? Sign me up!
Why a rollable display Chromebook would be useful
Today Chromebook buyers have to choose devices with their preferred screen aspect ratio. That might be a 16:9 display to watch widescreen video content, for example. It could be a 3:2 ratio for more vertical space and less scrolling in productivity apps. Or some try to find the middle ground with a 16:10 display on a Chromebook.
Simply put, a rolling display Chromebook could eliminate being locked in to a set display aspect ratio and offer different solutions for different use cases.
Although I mostly use my Chromebook’s for productivity and select a 3:2 screen ratio when possible, I do watch video content too. And I feel like it’s a sub-par experience. So much so that I sometimes jump onto a completely different device with a widescreen.
But I don’t want to sacrifice that 3:2 screen when it comes to browsing, writing or coding on my Chromebook. One button press could resolve that situation.
Rollable display technology is still new
Keep in mind that Lenovo’s rollable display laptop is an early concept. So I’m not getting too upset about the fact that it has a 4:3 aspect ratio at the moment. The technology is still being worked on and could eventually apply to just about any display ratio.
Ideally, I would love to see it come to a Chromebook with 16:9 ratio in its standard mode. I could watch videos or play games on my rollable display Chromebook in that case. When playtime is over and it’s time to work, I could extend the flexible panel and unroll it to a 3:2 ratio.
Am I saying we’ll definitely see a rollable display Chromebook? Nope, not at all. It’s up to Lenovo to deliver that.
What I am saying is that I would snap one up in a second if Lenovo did bring it to market. And a rollable display Chromebook would change my answer when it comes to innovation in this space too.