Google’s next Pixel phone could be the first in its line to have a foldable screen, rivaling what Samsung already does with its Galaxy Fold series. There have been rumors fluttering for a while that a bendy Pixel phone might see the light of day, especially given the company’s focus on hardware in recent years.
Google isn’t the only company that’s reportedly getting on the foldable phone bandwagon. It appears to be an open secret that Apple’s gearing up to do the same, though that may not show up till 2025. (Read CNET’s coverage about a potential iPhone Flip.) Samsung meanwhile, seems to be going full steam ahead with its foldable phones. The South Korean company launched its fourth generation of foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, at its Unpacked event in August. Chinese phone makers like Huawei and Oppo have also continued to release their own foldables in the form of the Mate X3 and the Find N2 Flip.
Pixel Fold launch timeline: May 2023
So far the company has kept mum on the possibility of a foldable phone, but it’s all but confirmed that the Pixel Fold will finally get its much anticipated reveal at the annual Google I/O event, scheduled for May 10. A 9to5Google report published Monday says the tech giant’s inaugural foldable phone has passed through the certification process with the Federal Communications Commission, a regulatory step that typically occurs right before a smartphone launch. Earlier reports from 9to5Google and WinFuture say the Pixel Fold is expected to go on sale in June.
Pixel Fold design: More Oppo Find N than Galaxy Z Fold 4
Animations found in Android 12L, Google’s software designed specifically for large-screen devices such as tablets and foldable phones, have offered hints at the possible appearance of the Pixel Fold. Based on that, Google’s foldable phone will take the form of a book-style foldable with two screens.
The Google foldable was initially rumored to resemble the taller and leaner design of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3, which has an approximate aspect ratio of 22.5:18. But according to 9to5Google and other media outlets, the opened-up Pixel Fold is more likely to resemble the squarish shape of Oppo’s foldable phone, the Find N. When closed, it’s believed to have an aspect ratio closer to 18:9.
If that’s true, it would mean that, like the Find N, the Pixel Fold could be more natural to use as a regular phone when closed. According to a December report by HowISolve, the cover display will measure 5.79 inches, while the inner display will measure 7.69 inches. A CNBC report published in April backed those measurements up, adding that the devices will be pocket-sized and water resistant.
Pixel Fold design: Just 2 colors
Renders based on images of a Google Pixel Fold were published online in November by Front Page Tech. The phone renders show two colors, one model in obsidian (black) and one in chalk (white). More recent reports, however, point to color options in “carbon,” likely a shade of gray or black, and “porcelain.”
Pixel Fold camera: Camera module may be step down from Pixel 6
There haven’t been many rumors about the Pixel Fold’s camera, but there’s room for some speculation, courtesy of 9to5Google. The website is reporting that the Pixel Fold will have two front-facing 8-megapixel lenses, one presumably on the cover and one for the interiors, as well as a 12-megapixel rear camera. The main sensor is expected to be a step down from the Pixel 6 series, since it’s rumored to rely on Sony’s IMX363 sensor, used in the Pixel 3 in 2018, as opposed to Samsung’s top-of-the-line GN1 sensor, from the main 50-megapixel camera of the Pixel 6 series.
If I had to guess, I’d expect the logic for this potential decision to hinge on the size of the GN1 sensor, which is one of the larger camera sensors on the market. That means it’ll be tough for a foldable phone to carry it without increasing the overall heft of an already-hefty foldable device. Another rumor points to the Pixel Fold having a 50-megapixel main camera along with two 12-megapixel cameras and an 8-megapixel one.
Pixel Fold price: $1,400 to $1,800
There’s no telling for certain what a phone will cost until launch day — if that happens at all. But according to a report by 9to5Google citing an unnamed source, the Pixel Fold will be priced below the $1,800 (£1,320 or AU$2,500) mark. Another report spotted by BGR in March seems to corroborate that notion, putting the price as low as $1,399, which is less than Samsung’s $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 4. Those rumors seem to make sense as they appear to align with Google’s strategy of undercutting competitors in terms of price.
Pixel Fold processor: Tensor
Considering Google went to the complex and costly trouble of developing its own system-on-chip technology, it’s all but certain the Pixel Fold will run on the Tensor chipset, which debuted on the Pixel 6 series.