May The Fold Be With You.
And with that cheeky tagline, the foldable phone is back.
Samsung (Galaxy Z Fold4) has been trying for a while, and now it’s time for Google to step to the plate. With the Pixel Fold, the tech giant thinks it may have a winning formula on its hand, and it’s notable that while the idea of a foldable phone has been around for quite some time, this is Google’s first shipping phone to feature a foldable display.
So far the launch is a bit of a tease with some information withheld until next week’s annual Google I/O developer tech conference. Not a bad marketing idea. You get two-for-one: advance marketing and press for not only the Pixel Fold, but also I/O.
In case you missed the teasers, here’s a YouTube clip that should give you an idea of what’s in store:
Watch: Pixel Fold — May The Fold Be With You
Uploaded, of course, on May 4th.
What Do We Know About the Google Pixel Fold Phone?
We actually don’t know much about the Pixel Fold yet. As mentioned above, we’ll likely see the full reveal at Google I/O where I’m sure the product will grab the majority of headlines and interest. Expect lots of hype and marketing around this one.
Rumors, as usual, abound. For instance, according to Engadget we can probably expect 24-hour battery life on the Pixel Fold — which would be pretty sweet.
Then there’s the price. Rumor again, but — gulp — $1,700 USD. If you want the latest innovation you’re going to have to pay the early adopter premium. Fair enough I think. Especially when you consider well optioned iPhone Pros play in those same waters.
As for the operating system, no surprise that Pixel Fold will run Android. But early reports suggest it will be a special variant denoted with an “L” as in Android 12L. This version is presumably designed to take advantage of the extended real estate on the Pixel Fold’s display, and likely also features multi-tasking and other party tricks that users will expect on a premium device.
Pixel Fold Could-be Specs
Some more rumored specs per Tom’s Hardware:
- Tensor CPU?
- Mali GPU?
- 12GB DDR5 RAM?
- 23W wired charging?
- Large battery > 4,500 mAh?
- Android 12L?
- Displays: 5.8-inch OLED external / 7.6-inch OLED internal?
Will the Pixel Fold Succeed Where Others Have Failed?
I’m putting my money on the Pixel Fold. I think it will be a winner. Finally — the foldable market needs a hero.
One reason is I’ve changed my perspective over the past when it comes to foldables is that the hardware has evolved to the point where these phones are noy only really well made, but also actually functional. Essentially, they’re fancy 7-inch tablets with an extra screen on the outside. Given that Android and iPadOS and iOS have lately rolled out extensive multi-tasking capabilities these devices are becoming more practical from a productivity perspective.
… for the right buyer the Pixel Fold will tick a lot of boxes.
If your Pixel Fold gives you 80-90% of your laptop’s or desktop’s compute, but in a svelte package that you can slip in a pocket or purse than I think the value proposition will be compelling for many. The Pixel Fold is expected to weight about .6 pounds. Contrast that to most laptops that come in anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds and you can see that for those out in the field, or those traveling frequently, something like Pixel Fold (or Galaxy Z) is definitely worth a look.
As an anecdotal aside, based on reaction to the above YouTube teaser video, reaction appears to be very positive.
In any case we’ll learn more at Google I/O. So stay tuned next week to Google’s annual flagship event. I expect plenty of dazzling demos and, likely, a surprise or two (new killer apps designed specifically for the Fold?).
Despite the high price I predict Pixel Fold will be a hit. Maybe not a mass volume play to be sure. But for the right buyer it will tick a lot of boxes.