What are the rumors about Google’s foldable smartphone?

google pixel fold

Foldable devices started to hit 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 could be plotting its own arrival in this emerging market, though, with the Google Pixel Fold set to launch this year, even defying reports that it had been cancelled.

We’ve rounded up all the news and speculation surrounding Google’s first foldable device.

When will the Google Pixel Fold be released?

We don’t have any solid information to share about the release date yet, as Google hasn’t even confirmed the production of such a device.

In 2020, 9to5Google reported that internal documents mention that a foldable smartphone would appear in the fourth quarter of 2021. This obviously did not happen, nor in 2022 for that matter.

Therefore, 2023 is now the target, and the good news is that rumors point to a launch sometime in the spring of 2023, as the expert said. Ross Young with the Korean site The Elec and leaker Jon Prosser. That means it could appear at the I/O conference, possibly alongside the Pixel 7a, which is reflected in a Pixel product roadmap obtained by Android Authority.

We don’t know exactly when the I/O will take place yet, Young predicted a March launch, with panel production starting in January, while a more pessimistic Prosser is talking about May.

Finally, The Elec published a new report in January 2023, claiming that the production of the smartphone has been delayed again and will not take place until the third quarter of this year. That doesn’t rule out an I/O reveal, but does give some reason to think the Fold could arrive alongside the Pixel 8 in October instead.

Is the Pixel Fold cancelled?

There was some speculation that the foldable Pixel had been cancelled.

Ross Young reported in 2021 that Google had decided against bringing the Pixel Fold to market, citing sources in the display supply chain. He said the firm was worried the product wouldn’t be as competitive as it needed to be, as it was primarily up against Samsung in a small niche market.

Since then he himself would have gone back on his remarks by reporting that the Pixel Fold is again in the pipes.

What name for the foldable Pixel?

In 2022, 9to5Google reported in 2022 that it will be called the Pixel Notepad, but has since changed its mind and predicted that Fold is the more likely name.

The only thing we know from Google are the phone’s codenames: Passport, Pipit and Felix, which refer to different internal versions of the product.

The Passport name was spotted in various bits of Android code, including the first public beta of Android 12. It appeared with a model number GPQ72, which is believed to be related to the Japanese variant of the phone.

More recently, the Pipit name has made a name for itself in Camera app code, a Geekbench listing, and parts of the Android 12L beta. 9to5Google thinks it’s an appellation for the foldable Pixel, while Android 13’s code brought with it the name Felix.

How much will the Google Pixel Fold cost?

There’s no evidence to rely on to get an idea of ​​how much it’ll cost, but one thing that’s pretty certain though, is that it won’t be cheap.

The 9to5Google report dug up a price along with the name and exit strategy, it says Google will offer a target price of $1,400 in the United States. If that price holds, then it will be $400 lower than its potential main rival, the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

We’ve heard a higher price elsewhere, with Front Page Tech predicting it will be priced at $1,799, which could make it a lot less competitive.

What are the specs of the Google Pixel Fold?

Screen and design

Obviously, the main addition to the Pixel’s feature set will be a foldable display. It’s likely to be a book-like design adopted by the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Huawei Mate X2, rather than the clamshell-like vertical orientation found on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr.

Display quality will be crucial, as we’ve already seen how difficult it is to avoid creases in the screen when it bends or panels that stop working.

The most tantalizing renders so far can be found below and come from Front Page Tech, 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 is white and black.

Rival OnLeaks has produced remarkably similar renders in partnership with site HowtoiSolve. Both portray similar proportions, with a fairly wide aesthetic and an updated camera bar.


OnLeaks adds that the cover screen will be 5.8 inches, with the interior one larger at 7.7 inches, and when opened the phone will measure 158.7 x 139.7 x 5.7. mm.

To get a better look at its size and shape, YouTube Dave2D got their hands on a plastic dummy unit, said to have completely exact physical dimensions. He notes how thin it is, with each side being just 5.7mm thick. He also suggests using a teardrop-shaped hinge, like recent foldable devices from Oppo and Xiaomi.

Interestingly, on his dummy device, there is a cutout for the camera inside the thick frame of the internal screen, which suggests that the camera will be located inside the frame, rather than using a punch hole.

As for more specific display specs, The Elec has repeatedly reported that Google buys its panels from Samsung. The latest reports speak of a 7.57-inch foldable model and a 5.78-inch exterior screen.

Interestingly, he reported that while the phone will use the same ultra-thin glass (UTG) coating as Samsung’s foldable devices, it won’t include the Z Fold 4’s stylus support.

Developer Kuba Wojciechowski added weight to those predictions in a report for 91mobiles. He claims the Pixel Fold will use a Samsung-made display, with a resolution of 1840×2208 and dimensions of 123x148mm, roughly matching the 7.6-inch diagonal mentioned earlier. He adds that the display will support 1200 nits of brightness, and could support a 120Hz refresh rate.

As for the outer screen, it is reportedly 5.8-inches and therefore smaller than the 6.2-inch screen on the Z Fold 4, which will include a wider aspect ratio.

Finally, spotted by 9to5Google, the two animations show how a SIM card could be inserted into the device. Interestingly, the aspect ratio seems to be closer to the square shape of the Oppo Find N2 than to one of Samsung’s Z Fold designs.

Technical characteristics

When it comes to basic specs, it seems almost certain that the Fold will use the internal Tensor G2 chipset that Google developed for its Pixel 7 phones.

Earlier in development, we thought the Fold would incorporate the first-generation Tensor, thanks to a Geekbench 4 listing for the model named Google Pipit. The listing shows an octa-core ARM chip with a base speed of 1.8 GHz and a peak speed of 2.8 GHz. Seen here with 12GB of RAM, and running Android 12 as you’d expect.

Now, it’s obviously much more likely that the second Tensor will appear, and in turn we’ve seen it on Geekbench too, this time as “Google Felix”, another known code name for the Fold. Its top speed would be at 2.85 GHz and its performance cores at 2.35 GHz.

Cameras

We think we know a little more about its camera, but there are two key variants seen. The 9to5Google site found code revealing four sensors: a 12.2MP IMX363, a 12MP IMX386 and two 8MP IMX335s. The latter two are marked indoor and outdoor, suggesting they’re for a selfie pair.

The IMX363 is the same sensor used for the main camera of Pixel 3, 4 and 5, while the IMX335 is also the same sensor used for the selfie lenses of Pixels up to 6, but not the Pro. The IMX386 is also found in the Pixel 6, where it’s used to power the wide angle.

Wojciechowski found a separate lens setup linked to the codename Felix, however, and believes it’s more likely to be what’s seen in the final foldable. Here we see a triple rear camera with the 64Mp Sony IMX787 primary sensor, a 10.8Mp Samsung S5K3J1 telephoto lens, and a 12Mp Sony IMX386 ultra-wide angle. The inner selfie camera appears to be an 8Mp Sony IMX355, while on the front there’s another Samsung S5K3J1.

While some had hoped that Google might try an under-display camera on the Fold, renders and leaks so far predict something rather different, a normal hole-shot selfie camera on the outer display, and a camera built into the frame inside.

This would allow for an uninterrupted main screen without the quality compromises imposed by the sensors under the screen. We even have an idea of ​​what it might look like thanks to a patent discovered by 91mobiles, apparently filed in June 2021.


The phone will also get software improvements, including features from Android 12L, a version of Android that improves support for large-screen devices like tablets, and foldables. It features improved split-screen support for all Android apps, a two-column notification shade and control center layouts, and a desktop-style taskbar, all we can get. expect to see on the Pixel Fold’s big screen.

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