For years, Samsung had the run of the folding phone market globally since most Chinese companies preferred to keep their take on the category restricted to China. But there’s a challenger on the horizon: Google has confirmed that it will introduce its first foldable phone — called the Pixel Fold — during the Google I/O 2023 event on May 10.
Specs are under wraps but a brief teaser video has shown the phone in all its glory. It looks a lot like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold devices, opening up like a book. The camera bar on the back is a reminder that this is a part of the Pixel series. There have been reports that the Pixel Fold would be a 5.8-inch phone that folds out into a 7.6-inch tablet.
What would be more interesting is the chip that’s there and what Google can allow on the software front. Going by rumours, it will have a Google Tensor G2 processor and the phone will weigh 10 ounces.
Samsung has done a great job in the latest version of Z Fold by adding an app dock and how apps interact with each other and also get displayed. The biggest problem with any folding/flipping phone in the Android universe is the support Google offers. Apps are usually developed for the usual smartphone and they are forced to function differently on larger screens. Android 13 addresses some of the sizing issues, but not all apps are optimized. As for the Tensor chipset, it first made an appearance on the Pixel 6 series and has been widely praised.
But can Google do away with the light crease the user is faced with on unfolding a foldable phone? Foldable smartphones come with flexible displays that bend in half but somehow there hasn’t been enough development in the last two years. Dust gathers around the edges, the screen picks up fingerprints and you could be scared of puncturing the screen with your nails because it’s so delicate.
Long ago, Apple filed patents for a potential future foldable of its own but there haven’t been enough developments to make Apple manufacture a foldable phone.
Battery life on the Pixel Fold is expected to go beyond 24 hours. Also, the phone holds a lot of promise because Google works closely with developers and since the company is taking its first step in the foldable category, expect big developments in the coming days. Also, Samsung is expected to turn up the competition when it launches its next generation of folding phones, probably in August.