Pixel Fold seems to be on track for 2022 launch — cameras may disappoint

Pixel Fold
(Image credit: Waqar Khan)

Rumors of a Pixel Fold go back to late last summer with some projecting that the foldable Pixel would launch alongside the Pixel 6 and while that didn't come to pass a new rumor suggests the phone is still coming.

The team at 9to5Google uncovered references to the foldable Pixel in the most recent Google Camera app which points to a 2022 launch date and offers us a precise rundown of the camera specs for the phone.

While the camera specs are the exact sensors, the release date is far less clear. There's merely a listing in the code for "isPixel2022Foldable." This is common for the Camera app's listings, but ultimately not very informative other than confirming that the phone still seems to be on track to arrive sometime next year. Our best guess would still be that it makes an appearance by April 2022 to coincide with the official release of Android 12L, the new tablet and foldable optimized version of Android 12.

Turning to the more concrete information the cameras that are identified for the foldable Pixel are going to be disappointing to anyone that was hoping to see essentially a foldable Pixel 6. The primary wide-angle camera is the same 12.2MP IMX363 found in the Pixel 5 and a number of other Pixels. While Google definitely wrings every last bit of performance out of that thing, it was showing its age two years ago.

Pixel Fold

(Image credit: Waqar Khan)

A secondary 12MP Sony IMX386 is also listed, that is the same sensor that is used for the ultra-wide in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, so presumably, it is doing that duty on the foldable Pixel as well. Like the Sony IMX363, this sensor was first released in 2016. 

No telephoto lens, unfortunately, but it will feature two 8MP Sony IMX355 front-facing cameras, one on the outer display and one on the inner display. That is the same front-facing sensor that Google used for the Pixel 3 in 2018.

We can only hope that this points to a very affordable price point for the foldable Pixel. Given the somewhat troubled launch of the foldable Pixel, it's possible it was meant to be released before the Pixel 6, which would take some of the sting out of this, but it's hard to see Google go back to its old ways with what should be an even more premium handset. 

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.