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Google Pixel Fold: Price, release date, features, and more

Pixel 5
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The rumored Pixel Fold will be Google’s first attempt at entering the foldable smartphone market, going head-to-head with well-established foldable giants like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2. While all eyes are on Google’s next flagship phone, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, a number of leaks indicate the first foldable Pixel will have plenty to show off, too.

Google’s main competition will no doubt be Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3, which has now been unveiled after Samsung's August Unpacked event, along with the Galaxy  Flip 3.  Keep in mind, however, that we wouldn’t be getting a Pixel Fold (or any of its leaks) without Samsung Display developing a major component of the phone. 

Foldable phones may be in a tragic state at the moment, but the Pixel Fold — along with the upcoming foldables from Samsung — aims to shift the dynamic and bring about the era of foldable smartphones. Samsung may have laid the foundation in 2019, but Google could bring folding phones to the mainstream. The Pixel Fold, or whatever it may be called, has yet to be officially announced, but we already know a thing or two about its price, release date, design, and more. 

Google Pixel Fold release date

With this being Google’s first Pixel phone with an entirely different form factor, it’s difficult to pinpoint when the Pixel Fold will be revealed. That said, a report from The Elec from earlier this year suggested the Fold will arrive by the end of 2021 or early 2022.  

Recently, Notable tipster Yogesh Brar shared details with 91Mobiles stating the Pixel Fold has been delayed. However, we may catch a glimpse of the foldable in a preview during the launch of Google's upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The sources claimed there is no launch period set for the foldable yet, but there's a chance Google may announce the Pixel Fold during the Pixel 6 launch event later this year. Google's next flagship phone is expected to launch sometime in mid-October.

(Image credit: Waqar Khan)

The fact that Google's recent preview announcement of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro contained no mention of the Pixel Fold suggests that the early 2022 projection is more likely. However, given that Google has managed to keep the Pixel Fold relatively secret, it's also possible that it is being a bit more tightlipped about it. 

Previous reports are leaning away from a 2022 launch date. Samsung Display will reportedly start production of its foldable OLED panels this October, while display industry insider Ross Young leaked that the Pixel Fold will be among the 2021 foldable launches. This means the Fold could coincide with the launch of the Pixel 6.

Google’s next flagship is rumored to be launching sometime around October this year, seeing as the Pixel 4 was released on October 24, 2019, while the Pixel 5 was made available on October 15, 2020. This means the Pixel Fold may be introduced alongside the tech giant's next mainline Pixel phone, or somewhere around that time. 

Google Pixel Fold price 

Not much is known about how much the Pixel Fold will set customers back, but if previous Pixel phones are anything to go by, Google may be offering a more affordable alternative to the $1,799 price point of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. 

(Image credit: Waqar Khan)

After the success of the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G priced from just $499, along with the Pixel 5’s price drop to $699, Google hit the mark for mid-tier smartphones bringing flagship capabilities. What’s more, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that Google has "definitely shown that Pixel 4a, Pixel 5 are a clear value proposition. We'll build on that."

In order to beat any potential competition from other foldables hitting the market in 2021, Google will likely need to stick with its plan to keep costs down with its Pixel phone lineup. While it definitely won’t be as low as the Pixel 4a 5G, we could see the Fold being slightly pricier than the expected retail price for the Pixel 6: around $799 to $999 range. Could the Pixel Fold be a sub-$1,000 foldable smartphone? We’ll keep our fingers crossed. 

Google Pixel Fold design 

So far, the Pixel Fold has yet to reveal itself. While there have been no sneak peeks of its form factor or how it may look, designer Waqar Khan created design renders based on the leaks that have surfaced. 

According to reports from The Elec, the Pixel Fold is expected to have a 7.6-inch in-folding display panel, with a form factor along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. It is expected to boast a display on the front along with an inner folding display.

The renders show off a near-exact design to the Pixel 5, although with an extra foldable screen. We were fans of the look and feel of the Pixel 5, with its compact footprint and thin, curved edges. We’d be happy to see the Pixel Fold take some design cues, especially if the Fold doubles its width. This will be Google’s first whack at a foldable, so its design may come with a few issues — though we hope the tech giant took lessons from Samsung’s early attempts. 

Google Pixel Fold display

The majority of Pixel Fold rumors had a focus on its display, and it’s looking to impress. According to display panel insider Ross Young, all foldables set to arrive in 2021 with panels from Samsung Display will be equipped with a 120Hz LTPO display — which is something we’re more than excited to hear. This includes the Pixel Fold, along with Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 display (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Thanks to Samsung Display, the Pixel Fold is expected to have a 7.6-inch in-folding display panel. This makes it smaller than other displays Samsung Display is apparently developing.  Reports indicate Vivo’s model will have an 8-inch main screen and a 6.5-inch outer screen, while Xiaomi's foldable may also be equipped with an 8-inch panel size, along with a 6.4-inch outer screen. 

Google Pixel Fold performance  

Foldables are known to be equipped with high-end specs. Seeing as Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G for flagship smartphones launching toward the end of 2021, Google could pack its Pixel Fold with the chip maker’s latest chip. With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro announcement, however, we now know the foldable Pixel is likely to be powered by a Tensor chip. 

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Previous rumors of Google making its own chip for Pixel devices, codenamed “Whitechapel,” came to be true. Google Tensor is Google's first-ever in-house silicon for phones, bringing enhanced speech recognition capabilities for better performance from Google Assistant and more features to be powered by AI and machine learning.

"Tensor enables us to make the Google phones we’ve always envisioned —  phones that keep getting better, while tapping the most powerful parts of Google, all in a highly personalized experience. And with Tensor’s new security core and Titan M2, Pixel 6 will have the most layers of hardware security in any phone," Google wrote in a blog post.

Cameras on Pixel devices will also be getting an upgrade thanks to the Tensor chip, as the improved AI is said to offer clearer, DSLR-like photos. With faster performance, Pixel phones are also expected to gain a boost in battery life.

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Recently, modder cstrack27 found three codenames relating to Google's upcoming Pixel devices that could sport the same modem. In the tweet, it lists Oriole, Raven and Passport, which were codenames for the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel Fold, respectively. The “g5123b” codename is expected to be a Samsung 5G modem. With the "Passport" codename being mentioned along with the codenames for the next Pixel smartphones, that's a good sign the Pixel Fold is getting identical technology.  

While the new chip will be used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, if the Pixel Fold launches alongside Google's flagship phones or follows closely behind, there’s reason to believe all Pixel phones will boast the same chip, or at least something similar. 

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon is another contender. The new smartphone chip's 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine will offer a 20% improvement over the last chip, with up to 32 trillion operations per second (TOPS) AI performance, and 5G download speeds up to 7.5 Gbps. This is quite the improvement from a flagship chip that came out in December. All that being said, Qualcomm didn’t mention Google being part of the brands that will use the upgraded chip.

 Outlook

There’s still a lot to learn about Google’s first foldable phone, but there’s more than enough reason to think a Pixel Fold is on its way, and soon. With a 7.6-inch 120Hz LTPO in-folding display panel apparently in the works, and the potential for Google to offer an affordable foldable opposed to Samsung’s pricey Galaxy Z Fold, the Pixel Fold could easily kick off the year of the foldables if it arrives later in 2021.

While we wait for the potential October release date, check out everything we know about Google’s other rumored smartphone, the Pixel 6. If you’re interested in what Samsung is bringing to the table, here’s what we know about the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3