The foldable phone market is a lucrative one as evidenced by developments in the last year or so. Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have already shown the design capabilities and functionality of foldable phones. Now Google seems to be on the verge of joining the party with its own version of a foldable device, at least the rumors suggest.
As per some reliable information, the Pixel Fold is on the cards – it could release as soon as this year. A foldable Pixel device is a next step in smartphone evolution for Google, as this trend heads toward mainstream territory. Even Apple is believed to be working on a foldable device. In a way, Google’s foldable phone initiative could be triggered by these developments.
Pixel Fold design and aesthetics
According to a patent filed by Google, the basic structural design of the device resembles the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. It has a smartphone-sized device that unfolds to morph into a larger display. One of the patents however reveals that the device opens on a hinge, having a slide-out additional display for extra screen real estate. Then there is another patent that hints at a three-way foldable phone.
It is apparent that not all the patents make it to the market or even to the prototype stage. Still, Google’s interest in a foldable device cannot be overlooked.
Google’s rumored folding phone may have a clamshell design, along with the possibility of stretching the screen out further for more screen space, which could be a winning design. The folding phone market is very niche and standing out in design and aesthetics can play a pivotal role. Pixel Fold will have to be more than a modest design to beat the likes of Samsung and Motorola at their own game.
A recent rumor suggests the Pixel Fold could support the ultra-thin glass (UTG) display. It has a glass sheet design for a superior touch and feel, while also providing better protection. On top of it, the display is flexible for bends and folds. Yes, this is the same display used in Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip smartphones, which gives Samsung an advantage, as other manufacturers still use plastic ones.
According to ETNews, Samsung is slated to supply Google with flexible OLED panels measuring 7.6-inch with the unique ultra-thin glass layer. Coincidently, that’s the same speculated size as rumored for the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Cameras and hardware
Pixel devices have traditionally been known for stellar camera performance, and Pixel Fold is expected to follow suit. Since it is going to be a premium device, improved camera sensors on at least two cameras could be the case. Google has always impressed with its less is more approach as far as cameras go, therefore, the Pixel Fold could have only two rear-facing cameras and one front-facing shooter.
If Pixel Fold does get a third rear-facing camera, it could be a decision maker for foldable phone fanatics who will have more on the platter by the end of this year or in early 2022 when the phone arrives. Nonetheless, expect an impressive camera array on the Pixel Fold and unbeatable post-processing via the software for photographs that rivals the best.
The Pixel Fold is still in the rumors, nothing concrete about the hardware is known. Still, it is safe to assume that Google will prefer a modest processor like the Snapdragon 780 5G – which is behind Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC. Google’s past releases are a testament to the fact that the Silicon Valley giant tends to be less aggressive with the hardware – relying more on software tuning to maximize performance.
According to another set of rumors, the upcoming Pixel 6 is slated to feature Samsung’s processor codenamed Whitechapel. There is a likely possibility of the Pixel Fold also supporting the same chipset. This might not please many folding phone enthusiasts as the Snapdragon processor is better when compared to this chipset.
Expected release date
One thing that’s the hardest to predict about a device still in the rumor mill is its exact release date. The Pixel Fold apparently popped up in a leaked internal Google document way back in August 2020 – that’s when the existence of the device was actually known.
There’s substance to this leak since it mentioned the devices like Pixel 5a and the code-named phone assumed to be the Pixel 6. Right there was also a clear mention of a foldable device slated for a 2021 release. Since the other two devices are likely to show up this year, it is a safe assumption, the Pixel Fold will also debut in time for the holiday season.
This information seems to coincide with the latest leak that suggests the foldable phone is codenamed Passport. Even though there are no leaked renders of the device as opposed to the other two rumored Pixel phones; the dots are beginning to connect and Pixel Fold seems to be in line with 2021 release.
How Google prices the Pixel Fold will determine its destiny since Galaxy Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, and other upcoming foldable devices will have the hardware firepower to better it. Going by the past foldable releases, the Pixel Fold could see a $1,000 to $1,200 price tag – anything beyond that would be a hard case for the phone to sell. We believe so because users would prefer flagship hardware if they want to shell out $1,500 or more for a foldable phone.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is currently the undisputed king in this domain with a $1,799 sticker (but it has the hardware to back such a colossal price tag). Then there are the more affordable options like $1,199 Galaxy Z Flip and $1,399 Motorola Razr 5G.
If Google can keep the Pixel Fold around the $1,000 price point, it would be a real deal for Pixel fans. Pair this to a seamless software experience, an extra screen for unique features, and Google instantly has a perfect foldable phone to show!