At the moment there are only a few companies really making foldable phones, and Samsung is dominating the market with handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. But it might soon have some serious competition, as it looks like Google has a foldable phone on the way.
We don’t know what this handset will be called yet, so for now we’re just referring to it as the Google Pixel Fold (since it’s likely to have Pixel branding in line with the company’s other phones).
We have heard some details of the possible design and screen though, all of which you’ll find below. We’ve also included information on a possible release date, plus speculation about the price, and as soon as we hear anything else about the Google Pixel Fold, we’ll add it to this article. So make sure to check back regularly if you want to stay up to date.
A codename and model number believed to be attached to the Google Pixel Fold have been spotted in Android 12 beta code.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's first foldable phone
- When is it out? Possibly before the end of the year
- How much will it cost? Unknown, but probably a lot
Google Pixel foldable phone release date and price
Rumors currently suggest that the Pixel Fold will land either in late 2021 or early 2022. At least, that's what Jon Prosser (a leaker with a solid track record) has claimed, and he's not alone, with display analyst Ross Young also claiming that a Google foldable phone will land in the second half of 2021.
Plus, a report claims that Google (among other companies) has purchased foldable phone screens from Samsung Display, and it goes on to say that smartphones using these screens will launch this year.
However, it doesn’t specifically say that Google phones using them will, so it could just mean that one of the other companies that has purchased these panels will launch a foldable phone in 2021.
Finally, mention of the 'Passport' codename and GPQ72 model number have been spotted in Android 12 beta code, and they're believed to be attached to the Pixel Fold. Their presence in the code suggests not just that the phone exists, but that it might arrive before too long.
If a Pixel foldable phone does launch in 2021 though, our best guess for the timing would be alongside the Google Pixel 6, which itself will likely land towards the end of the year, probably in October.
Given how little we’ve heard about Google’s foldable phone, a launch towards the end of the year (or later) would also make more sense than an imminent launch.
As for what it might cost, there’s no news there, but foldables are always expensive. That said, the Google Pixel 5 is cheaper than most flagship phones. That’s in part because Google opted not to put a cutting-edge chipset in it, but it might take a similar approach with the Pixel foldable. Even then though we’d expect at least a very high three-figure or low four-figure price.
Design and display
The main information about the Google Pixel foldable phone comes from a report which claims that Google has ordered foldable OLED panels of around 7.6 inches from Samsung Display.
That’s the same size as the main screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, and big enough that the Pixel foldable could have the same form factor as the Galaxy one – that is, a typical phone-sized screen when shut, but opening out like a book to reveal a more tablet-sized display. That said, we can’t rule out it having a clamshell design like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
Beyond this leak, we’ve also seen a Google patent which shows a screen that opens out to a tablet size, but then can additionally be stretched a little further, like the rollable phone concepts we’ve seen. This however looks ambitious for Google’s first foldable phone, so we’re not convinced it will have this design.
Patently Mobile has also spotted two additional Google Pixel foldable phone patents, one of which shows a fairly conventional clamshell design, while the other has two hinges, allowing it to form a Z-shape as it unfolds, and go from smartphone size to full tablet size.
So Google seems to be experimenting with a lot of different foldable designs, but it remains unclear which if any of these will be used.
Specs and features
So far we don’t know anything about the specs of the Google Pixel foldable phone, but we can speculate a little. For one thing, it will probably run Android 12, but will certainly run whatever the latest Android version is at the time of its launch.
Going by the standard Pixel range, it will probably also have decent cameras, but perhaps fewer lenses than rival phones.
For the chipset, it’s possible that Google will opt for something upper mid-range rather than high-end. Not only would that help it reduce the cost of what’s sure to be a very expensive phone, but it also did similar with the Google Pixel 5, so there’s precedent for it. Whatever the chipset though, we’d expect the company’s foldable will support 5G.
- Check out the best foldable phones