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We've been talking about the Google Pixel Fold for some time now: rumours have been swirling since before early 2021 with all kinds of predictions and leaks and even the odd video render. But it's as conspicuous by its absence from our best folding phone guide as it was back in 2021, and we were starting to think that it had been cancelled before it ever saw the light of day.
Apparently not. According to screen analyst Ross Young on Twitter, his next Foldable Report will detail "Google bringing back its foldable smartphone" which he says will start production in the third quarter of 2022 for a Q4 2022 release. Young previously predicted a 2021 release before Google apparently changed its plans.
Young has a strong track record of using his display contacts to tell us about upcoming releases – particularly Apple stuff. His last prediction about the Pixel Fold may not have come to pass, but he's someone to pay attention to.
It's back! Looks like Google's foldable Pixel will start panel production in Q3'22 and launch in Q4'22.February 14, 2022See more
So what's coming? Google has filed several patents around folding devices, including one showing a hinged phone and one with a three-pronged design enabling it to fold in different places. That seems more in the future, though: for now the folding action is most likely to be based on a single hinge, such as in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
In terms of internals, the short answer is "we don't know" – but given the similarities in specs between the Samsung folding phone and the non-folding Galaxy S21, it's likely that the specs for the Google Pixel Fold will be similar to or better than the Pixel 6 Pro: folding phones' prices already push them into money-no-object territory, so there's no real need to skimp on the specifications to try and keep the price down.
As with the Pixel 6 Pro we'd expect a high-end design with a very clean version of Android, Google's own Tensor system on a chip and good quality AMOLEDs for the screen; what we're not sure about is what the Pixel Fold could offer that the Samsung Galaxy Fold doesn't, especially given that we're expecting the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 later this year too.
I'd also wonder just how durable its hinge is going to be: this is a new type of device for Google and it hasn't gone through the public and occasionally bumpy evolution that the Samsung Galaxy Fold has been through. Presumably Google thinks it can learn from other firms' mistakes.
Google usually announces its new phones in October, which fits with Young's predictions: assuming it doesn't get canned again, we can't wait to see what Google's been holding and folding.