Foldable devices started hitting the headlines again a year or two ago and the competition is fiercer than ever with smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
Google may be planning its entry into this burgeoning market, though the Google Pixel Fold will be launched this year, even contrary to reports of its cancellation.
We’ve rounded up all the news and speculation about Google’s first foldable device.
When will the Google Pixel Fold be released?
As Google hasn’t even confirmed the production of such a device, we don’t have any solid information to share about the release date yet.
In 2020, 9to5Google reported that internal documents indicated that the foldable smartphone would appear in the fourth quarter of 2021. It obviously didn’t happen, nor in 2022.
Therefore, the target now is 2023, and the good news is that, according to the expert, rumors point to a launch sometime in the spring of 2023. Ross Young Korean site The Elec and leaker Jon Prosser. This means it could appear at the I/O conference, possibly alongside the Pixel 7a, which was featured in the Pixel product roadmap obtained by Android Authority.
We don’t know exactly when the I/O will take place yet, Young While the more pessimistic Prosser talked about May, he predicted that panel production would begin in March, with production beginning in January.
Finally, The Elec published a new report in January 2023, claiming that production of the smartphone has been delayed again and won’t happen until the third quarter of this year. This doesn’t rule out an I/O reveal, but it does suggest that the Fold could arrive alongside the Pixel 8 in October instead.
Is the Pixel Fold getting cancelled?
There was some speculation that the foldable Pixel had been cancelled.
Ross Young reported in 2021 that Google had refused to bring the Pixel Fold to market, citing sources in the display supply chain. He said the firm was concerned that the product would not be as competitive as it should be because it was primarily up against Samsung in a small market.
Since then, he would go back on his words, stating that the Pixel Fold is back in the pipes.
What is the name of the foldable Pixel?
In 2022, 9to5Google reported that it would be called Pixel Notepad in 2022, but has since changed its mind and predicted that Fold is the more likely name.
All we know from Google are the phone’s codenames: Passport, Pipit and Felix, referring to different internal versions of the product.
The name Passport was found in various bits of Android code, including the first public beta of Android 12. It has appeared with the model number GPQ72, which is believed to be related to the Japanese variant of the phone.
Recently, the Pipit name has made a name for itself in the Camera code, the Geekbench listing, and parts of the Android 12L beta. 9to5Google thinks it’s an appellation for the foldable Pixel, while the Android 13 code brought the name Felix with it.
How much will the Google Pixel Fold cost?
There’s no evidence to rely on to get an idea of how much it will cost, but one thing that’s pretty sure is that it won’t be cheap.
The 9to5Google report discovered a price, along with the name and exit strategy, that Google will offer a target price of $1,400 in the US. If this price holds, then it will be $400 less than its potential main competitor, the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
We’ve heard a higher price elsewhere, with Front Page Tech predicting it to be priced at $1,799, which could make it less competitive.
What are the features of the Google Pixel Fold?
Display and design
Obviously, a key addition to the Pixel’s feature set will be a foldable display. It’s likely to feature a book-like design adopted by the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Huawei Mate X2, rather than the clamshell portrait orientation found on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Motorola Razr.
The quality of the screen will be crucial, as we have already seen how difficult it is to prevent wrinkles when the screen is bent or on panels that stop working.
The most tantalizing renders so far can be found below and come from Front Page Tech, which is said to be based on images of the smartphone seen by the site. They show a foldable with a design similar to that of the Pixel 7 Pro with three rear cameras. The site adds that it will be available in Chalk and Obsidian, which are white and black.
Competitor OnLeaks, along with site HowtoiSolve, produced remarkably similar renders. Both feature similar proportions with fairly wide aesthetics and an updated camera bar.
OnLeaks adds that the cover display will be 5.8 inches and the interior will be 7.7 inches larger, and the phone will measure 158.7 x 139.7 x 5.7 mm when opened.
To get a better look at its size and shape, YouTuber Dave2D got his hands on a plastic dummy unit that reportedly has absolutely accurate physical dimensions. It notes how thin it is at just 5.7mm thick on each side. It also suggests using a teardrop-shaped hinge like the new foldable devices from Oppo and Xiaomi.
Interestingly, its dummy device has a cutout for the camera inside the thick bezel of the internal display, which suggests that the camera will be located inside the bezel rather than using a hole.
As for more specific display specs, The Elec has repeatedly reported that Google sources its panels from Samsung. The latest reports mention a 7.57-inch foldable model and a 5.78-inch external display.
Interestingly, he stated that the Z Fold 4 will not include stylus support, although the phone will use the same ultra-thin glass (UTG) coating as Samsung’s foldable devices.
Developer Kuba Wojciechowski added weight to these predictions in a report for 91mobiles. It claims that the Pixel Fold will use a Samsung-made display with a resolution of 1840×2208 and dimensions of 123mm x 148mm, roughly matching the previously mentioned 7.6-inch diagonal. He adds that the display will support 1,200 nits of brightness and can support a 120Hz refresh rate.
As for the external screen, it’s said to be 5.8 inches and therefore smaller than the 6.2-inch screen on the Z Fold 4, which also includes a wider aspect ratio.
Finally, two animations spotted by 9to5Google show how to insert the SIM card into the device. Interestingly, the aspect ratio seems closer to the square shape of the Oppo Find N2 than to one of Samsung’s Z Fold designs.
When it comes to key specs, it seems almost certain that the Fold will use the same in-house Tensor G2 chipset that Google made for its Pixel 7 phones.
Earlier in development, we thought the Fold would include the first-generation Tensor, thanks to a Geekbench 4 listing for a model called the Google Pipit. The listing shows an octa-core ARM chip with a base speed of 1.8GHz and a peak speed of 2.8GHz. It’s running here with 12GB of RAM and Android 12, as you’d expect.
Now the second Tensor is more likely to appear, and in turn we spotted it on Geekbench, this time as another well-known codename for the Fold, “Google Felix”. Its maximum speed will be 2.85 GHz, and performance cores will be 2.35 GHz.
We think we know a little more about its camera, but two main variants can be seen. 9to5Google found code that reveals four sensors: a 12.2MP IMX363, a 12MP IMX386 and two 8MP IMX335. The last two are marked indoor and outdoor, indicating that they are for a selfie couple.
The IMX363 is the same sensor used for the main camera of the Pixel 3, 4 and 5, while the IMX335 is the same sensor used for the selfie lens of the Pixel 6, but not the Pro. The IMX386 is also present in the Pixel 6, where it is used to power the wide-angle.
Wojciechowski However, Felix has found a separate lens assembly associated with the codename, which he believes is more likely to be what it appears to be in the final fold. Here we see a 64Mp Sony IMX787 main sensor, a 10.8Mp Samsung S5K3J1 telephoto lens and a 12Mp Sony IMX386 ultra-wide-angle triple rear camera. The internal selfie camera is an 8Mp Sony IMX355 and on the front is another Samsung S5K3J1.
While some are hoping Google might test an under-display camera on the Fold, images and leaks so far predict something completely different, with a selfie camera with a normal punch hole on the outer display and a frame-mounted camera on the inside.
This will allow for a seamless home screen without the quality distortions imposed by the sensors below the screen. We even have an idea of what it might look like thanks to a patent discovered by 91mobiles that was filed in June 2021.
The phone will also receive software upgrades, including features of Android 12L, a version of Android that improves support for large-screen devices such as tablets and foldable devices. It features improved split-screen support for all Android apps, a two-column notification shade and control center layouts, and a desktop-style taskbar—everything we can get. We expect to see it on the big screen of the Pixel Fold.
The phone will also receive software upgrades, including features of Android 12L, a version of Android that improves support for large-screen devices such as tablets and foldable devices. This includes improved split-screen support for all Android apps, a two-column notification shade and control center layout, and a desktop-style taskbar—all things we’ll get to see on the Pixel Fold’s big screen.