The “Pixel Fold” is Google’s best chance to make a smartphone that matters

I love Google’s Pixel devices as much as the next gadget nerd, but I think we all know they don’t exactly sell like hotcakes. Google has ordered only a share of three percent of the North American smartphone market in May 2022, according to market research company Canalys, and anecdotally, it’s much easier to spot an iPhone or Galaxy S in the wild than a Pixel.

But that didn’t stop Google (the Pixel 7 Pro is quite good), and now, based on a rising tide of escapes and filtered mockups, the search giant could have found a new opportunity: foldables. Folding phones are still quite new, and could be where Google can fully join the smartphone conversation (outside of Andorid) which has not been an active participant until now. Here’s how foldables could be good for Google, the company could be good for foldables, and Android tablets could end up winning in the end.

The Fold might not be around forever

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a mold that can be broken and perfect.Ian Carlos Campbell / Reverse

U Galaxy Z Fold 4 it’s as close as a foldable glass device gets to a household name, but the choices Samsung has made with hardware so far shouldn’t be considered set in stone. There is a real chance that a device from a company like Google could still make a name for itself by perfecting the work that Samsung has already done.

Other manufacturers like Oppo they’ve already improved on Samsung’s designs by reducing the crease or creating screens with different aspect ratios entirely. Based on case mockups shared by YouTube creator Dave2DIt seems that Google could take a similar approach with an overall squatter device (a 5.79-inch external display and a 7.67-inch internal display) with a generous serving of bezels to hide an internal webcam.

If Google’s design changes make the “Pixel Fold” cheaper than Samsung’s $1,799 phone, it could already have a winner on its hands, but I think I’ll opt for a rounder, flatter, and easier smartphone to be held in one hand. it also makes the device more accessible. I have not used the new one Oppo Find N2, But I used the first Oppo foldable, and I immediately found it more pleasant to hold than the Samsung phone, although it makes more sense to take notes. Google might have the opportunity to create the ultimate foldable form factor for North America.

A rising tide lifts all boats

Android already has foldable support, but Google could do even more.Google

References to a possible foldable Google device have previously surfaced in an Android 13 beta released at the end of last year. Google, of course, has also accommodated foldables since before the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Fold, facilitating the creation of Android applications that can support the change between different screen sizes on the fly.

With its own skin in the game, Google could make Android an even better OS for foldable screens, ideally improving the experience for everyone, regardless of what device they own. The Pixel line, besides being Google’s attempt to stop an Android monopoly and show that it can be a hardware player, is supposed to be an expression of its ideal version of the Android / Google experience. With a Pixel Fold on the market, Google could have a lot more influence in driving the foldable phone conversation.

Someone, think of the pills!

The Pixel Tablet, and Android tablets as a whole, can only benefit from a foldable Google.Google

Or at least that could be what makes Google think about big screen experiences on Android. With the Tablet Pixel Along the way, the company has already taken time to update some of its most popular apps for a large screen, but with a phone that could become a mini-tablet, Google could create a feedback loop of tablet design for the developers. Either target the fold and get an app that should at least work better on the Pixel Tablet, or make an app with the Pixel Tablet in mind and get an app that should work well on an unfolded Pixel Fold.

In any scenario, there will be more interest in larger screens and more of a reason to create apps for Android tablets, an area that has been dramatically underpowered compared to Apple’s iPad. So even if a Pixel Fold doesn’t make Google the smartphone competitor it wants to be, there are a number of ways that Android in general could benefit.

And if Google announces the device when it is currently expected at this year’s Google I/O developer conferenceWe can see the fruits of that work as this fall.

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