Now that we’ve gotten our first plausible look at next year’s Pixel Fold, let’s recap everything we’ve learned about Google’s first, or more accurately, third, foldable Pixel in recent years.
With the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Fold in 2019, most Android device makers began working to create their own version of the idea of a foldable phone. There have been flip-style designs like the Motorola Razr and hinged dual-screen devices like the Surface Duo, but many are looking to replicate the success of the Galaxy Z Fold series.
To make today’s world of foldable smartphones possible, Google has been constantly construction support for folding on Android since at least 2018. Over time, the rise of foldables revealed the ways in which Android was still much better on phones than on tablet-sized screens. Year after year, Android got better, particularly with this year’s. Android 12L, aimed at “big screens” of all kinds. Android 13 further improved the ideas added in 12L.
Android apps can now have “continuity” when switching from a smaller to a larger screen. Switching between apps has become a breeze, thanks to a new taskbar. Multitasking was also overhauled, with new “app pairs”.
Meanwhile, Google has been quietly, or perhaps not so quietly, working on a foldable of its own. In 2019, the then head of the Pixel division, Mario Queiroz, confirmed that the company was “prototyping” foldable phones. A year later, we exclusively reported that Google had a more tangible, codenamed, foldable “Passport” that was scheduled to launch in “Q4 2021” alongside the Pixel 6.
Details about this first foldable have been leaked until 2021, with reports indicating that the Pixel Fold would have a 7.6 inch screen from Samsung, complete with a 120Hz refresh rate. Analysts were confident that Google would introduce this “Passport” device as the first Pixel Fold in October 2021. Our team even I found the model number for the Japanese variant of this phone, aiming for a global launch.
After that year’s Made by Google came and went without so much as a sneak peek at a Pixel Fold, our team evidence found confirming that a foldable was now on the way for 2022. Along the way, Google had canceled its plans for “Passport” and moved on to a new device, codenamed “Pipit.”
This second iteration of the Pixel Fold was set to bring the same Google Tensor chip that was used in the Pixel 6. Unlike Google’s traditional flagship, however, this foldable would continue to use the cameras of the same date found on the Pixel 5.
We even got a little sneak peek at this second attempt at the Pixel Fold, thanks to the Android 12L beta. of a couple of animations includedwe learned that “Pipit” would be sturdier in its design compared to the Galaxy Z Fold series, closer to Oppo’s Find N (not that that’s a bad thing). Notably, those early animations still bear a striking resemblance to the latest Pixel Fold renders.
However, just as momentum began to build around this second attempt at the Pixel Fold, particularly with the release of Android 12L, Google delayed folding one more time. We believe this was around the time the company changed focus again, moving from “Pipit” to the third iteration, codenamed “Felix.”
It looks like this version of the Google Pixel Fold is now locked down, or at least far enough along to have more detailed details leading up to this recent leak of renders, pricing, and an alleged release window. Unsurprisingly, the main update is a move to the latest Tensor G2 chip, with all the speed and efficiency improvements that come with it.
Unlike Google’s previous attempts, the Pixel Fold is now set to bring the kind of high-end mobile camera you’d expect from the Pixel series. According to Android Researcher Kuba Wojciechowskithe Pixel Fold is likely to bring the Sony IMX787 sensor (64MP, 1/1.3-inch size) for its main photography.
On paper, the main camera hardware should be on par or slightly better than what’s used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series. You’ll also reportedly find the typical accompaniment of front-facing, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras.
That said, you probably won’t make much use of the front camera when taking selfies on the Pixel Fold. Our APK analysis team signs found that Google Camera will let you take full-quality selfies with the main camera while previewing it from the small outer screen, matching a similar feature that has long been rolled out to the Galaxy Z Fold series and foldable devices similar over the years.
Speaking of which, the outer screen must measure in with a 1080 x 2100 resolution, while the internal 7.6-inch display should be 1840 x 2208. Unlike the Pixel 7, neither of these displays will include an under-display fingerprint reader. Instead, whether the Pixel Fold is open or closed, it will use a fingerprint reader built into the lock button, just like Samsung’s foldables.
The Pixel Fold has clearly had a long journey towards launch, and things will certainly improve if these latest leaks turn out to be completely accurate. In any case, it’s probably for the best that Google gave this particular device so much time to bake.
The foldables are, despite many improvements, still more prone to damage than traditional form factors. On top of that, the quality of Google’s hardware with the Pixel has improved quite a bit with the Pixel 7 series, providing a better foundation for the Pixel Fold to really thrive against the competition.
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