Google's Pixel Fold Phone Is Coming Today: Here's What to Expect
A Pixel phone with a foldable design, aka the Pixel Fold, will be revealed Wednesday at Google I/O.
Sareena DayaramSenior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
After months of rumors, Google confirmed its foldable phone is real. The tech giant offered a sneak peek of its Pixel Fold last week, confirming that the company plans to launch its inaugural foldable phone at the annual Google I/O event, which takes place later today.
Google isn't the only company foraying in the foldable phone space. It appears to be an open secret that Apple's gearing up to do the same, though that may not show up till 2025. (Read CNET's coverage about a potential iPhone Flip.) We already know Samsung seems to be going full steam ahead with its foldable phones. Meanwhile, Chinese phone makers like Huawei and Oppo continue to commit to the foldable segment, with offerings of their own this year such as the Mate X3 and the Find N2 Flip.
Pixel Fold launch timeline: May 2023
The Pixel Fold will finally get its much anticipated reveal at the annual Google I/O event, scheduled for May 10. Reports from 9to5Google and WinFuture point to a sale timeline in June for the Pixel Fold, which is set to receive an international rollout similar to that of the Pixel 7. At Google I/O, we're also expecting to see the rumored Pixel 7A and we could get more details about the Pixel Tablet. The company will also likely spend time talking about its AI efforts, and we'll get more details on Android 14.
Pixel Fold design: More Oppo Find N than Galaxy Z Fold 4
Animations found in Android 12L, Google's software designed specifically for large-screen devices such as tablets and foldable phones, have offered hints at the possible appearance of the Pixel Fold. Based on that, Google's foldable phone will take the form of a book-style foldable with two screens.
The Google foldable was initially rumored to resemble the taller and leaner design of Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3, which has an approximate aspect ratio of 22.5:18. But according to 9to5Google and other media outlets, the opened-up Pixel Fold is more likely to resemble the squarish shape of Oppo's foldable phone, the Find N. When closed, it's believed to have an aspect ratio closer to 18:9.
If that's true, it would mean that, like the Find N, the Pixel Fold could be more natural to use as a regular phone when closed. According to a December report by HowISolve, the cover display will measure 5.79 inches, while the inner display will measure 7.69 inches. A CNBC report published in April backed those measurements up more or less, adding that the devices will be pocket-size and water resistant.
Pixel Fold camera: Camera module may be step down from Pixel 6
There haven't been many rumors about the Pixel Fold's camera, but Google gave us an official look of the camera module. It looks similar to recent Pixel phones in that camera bar running horizontally across the device, although not as prominent. 9to5Google has reported that the Pixel Fold will have two front-facing 8-megapixel lenses, one presumably on the cover and one for the interiors, as well as a 12-megapixel rear camera. The main sensor is expected to be a step down from the Pixel 6 series, since it's rumored to rely on Sony's IMX363 sensor, used in the Pixel 3 in 2018, as opposed to Samsung's top-of-the-line GN1 sensor, from the main 50-megapixel camera of the Pixel 6 series. Another rumor points to the Pixel Fold having a 50-megapixel main camera along with two 12-megapixel cameras and an 8-megapixel one.
There's no telling for certain what a phone will cost until launch day. But according to a report by 9to5Google citing an unnamed source, the Pixel Fold will be priced below the $1,800 mark (£1,320 or AU$2,500). Another report spotted by BGR in March seems to corroborate that notion, putting the price as low as $1,399, which is less than Samsung's $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 4. Those rumors seem to make sense as they appear to align with Google's strategy of undercutting competitors in terms of price. Of course, nothing is guaranteed until we hear officially from Google.
Considering Google went to the complex and costly trouble of developing its own system-on-chip technology, it's all but certain the Pixel Fold will run on a next-gen version of the Tensor chipset, which debuted on the Pixel 6 series.
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