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Google Pixel Fold: Everything we know so far
Google's first foldable has a lot to prove.
While every foldable phone to date from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 to China-exclusives like the Huawei Mate Xs has run on some version of Google's Android operating system, the tech titan itself has yet to take its own stab at designing a device with a flexible screen.
If the rumours are true, that could be about to change. Here's what we think we know so far about the device that's quickly become known in tech-head circles as the Google Pixel Fold.
When will the Google Pixel Fold go on sale?
While rumours that the announcement of a Google Pixel Fold might be imminent have waxed and waned over the past two years, the current expectation is that the device will arrive sometime in the next twelve months.
In September 2022, The New York Times reported that Google is looking to gear up to ship its first foldable in 2023. This aligns nicely with another story by The Elec back in May, suggesting that the reveal of the Google Pixel Fold had been bumped down the road from a late 2022 launch window.
It's not yet clear at this stage how the Pixel Fold will fit into Google's wider smartphone portfolio. Typically, the company announces a new A-series hardware in the middle of any given year with new flagship devices following a few months after that. On paper, the first half of 2022 is wide open for the Google Pixel Fold to make its big debut. We'll have to wait and see.
Google Pixel Fold design: What we know
Perhaps one of the most telling pieces of evidence that the launch of the Google Pixel Fold is still pretty far off is that the hardware and design of the device have yet to be leaked to the same degree as most Google, Samsung and Apple smartphones are.
Despite the absence of major leaks around the device, there are a few different tidbits that can help us triangulate some idea of what to expect from Google's first foldable smartphone.
Firstly, there are new animations found in Android 12L that depicted an unspecific foldable device in action. While the device shown in these graphics (included below) is fairly generic, it's not impossible that it could resemble the final form factor that Google plans to go with.
As for who Google are getting to make the foldable screen that'll be needed to make the Pixel Fold a reality, your best guess is likely the correct one.
One report (via The Elec) from 2021 indicated that Google have already inked a deal with Samsung to supply 7.6-inch foldable displays for future products. Those measurements would give the Pixel Fold a foldable screen that's roughly on par with the one found in Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold in size, which may suggest Google is opting for a similar book-inspired design rather than the clamshell-like form-factor of the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Google Pixel Fold tech specs: What we think
Form-factor aside, it’s probably a safe bet to expect that Google’s first-generation Pixel Fold will share a lot with the rest of the current Pixel lineup.
Under the hood, we expect the Google Pixel Fold to run on some version of Google's Tensor processor and at least 8GB of RAM. It's not impossible to imagine that Google opts to arm their first foldable with the first-generation Tensor found in the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6a rather than the second-generation one expected to arrive in this year's Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro in order to keep costs down, but we'll have to see how things shake out.
It's also unclear whether Google will look to range multiple storage variants for the device. Our current expectation is that the Pixel Fold will offer a minimum of 256GB of onboard storage as this represents the bottom-end of what's on offer when it comes to competitors like Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Google Pixel Fold camera: What is most likely
As with the tech specs, Google's Pixel Fold will likely share a lot with both current and future Pixel devices when it comes to the rear camera and what it can do.
According to one recent leak (via 9to5Google), the device will feature a triple-lens setup on the back that boils down to a 50MP main lens, plus a 12MP ultrawide and 12MP telephoto lenses and an 8MP selfie camera.
Of course, the real kicker here is likely to be the inclusion of Smart HDR and other computational photography advantages found in Google's other Pixel devices. Assuming that Google's next generation of smartphone cameras hold their lead against Samsung, then the Pixel Fold could be the foldable with the camera to beat.
Google Pixel Fold software: How it might work
Software is one of the biggest wildcards when it comes to the Google Pixel Fold.
While it's certain that the Pixel Fold will run on a version of the same Pixel OS skin that's found in devices like the Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro and Google Pixel 6a, it's worth noting that Google have been working away at building a more tablet and foldable-friendly version of Android for several years now.
Back in 2019, Google partnered with Samsung in order to get the original Galaxy Fold to play nice with the wider Android ecosystem. The two have continued to iterate in the years since, and it's almost likely that Pixel Fold will reap the benefits of this alliance.
More than just building on what's been done in the space before, the Google Pixel Fold could be a change for Google to raise the bar for how smart and smooth the software side of foldables can be.
Google Pixel Fold price: How much will Google's first foldable cost in Australia?
In 2022, buying a foldable phone still means spending more than you would otherwise. For example, when it comes to Samsung's latest lot of foldables, the innovation tax is still very much something consumers are faced with.
That said, a big part of Google's strategy in the smartphone category to date has involved undercutting the competition. With that in mind, it's hard to imagine that the Google Pixel Fold will arrive any cheaper than its non-foldable Pixel counterparts, but there's still plenty of room between the $1,299 commanded by the Pixel 6 Pro and the $2,499 RRP commanded by this year's Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Don't expect the Google Pixel Fold to be an outright bargain, but it's probably safe to say it won't be any more expensive than the cheapest version of Samsung's performance-oriented foldables. Check out the table below for a quick round-up of how much each foldable smartphone that's come to Australia so far has cost at launch.
|Samsung Galaxy Fold|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4|| |
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4|| |
|Motorola Razr|| |