The old flip phone may be out of date but that doesn’t stop smartphone makers from looking back to them for inspiration. The challenge, however, is a foldable smartphone that incorporates everything users expect from a 2022 phone. Samsung leads the way in this area with the release of its third-generation Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip, but now it seems Google may be looking to follow suit.
Rumours about Google developing a foldable phone have been circling for years now but nothing concrete has come out about it. However, rumours have begun heating up again, with codenames like Passport and Pipit, along with a mysterious test on Geekbench.
Let’s break down what we know about Google’s possible folding Pixel smartphone.
Google Pixel Fold: Leaks and rumours so far
On January 7, 2022, a Google Pixel Foldable smartphone was tested on Geekbench, a tech benchmarking website, with the codename ‘Pipit’. That codename has been found in camera files on the Pixel 6, indicating support for an upcoming device, like the much rumoured foldable. Theories have been rife about the Google Pixel Foldable ever since Google released Android 12L, a version of Android designed specifically for foldables and tablets.
That Pipit Geekbench listing gave us a good idea of what we can expect from Google’s next mobile device, such as 11.32GB (probably round up to 12GB) memory, high scores across recorded categories and processor scores.
When the Android 12 beta was released in May 2021, some clever folks discovered code that revealed the potential device names and model numbers of the upcoming Pixel phones.
One of these devices was ‘Passport’ which was believed to be the codename for Google’s upcoming foldable phone. Despite speculation, Passport was never released in 2021, but it still leaves open the possibility of a new Google device in the future. Passport could have also turned into Pipit, considering Passport hasn’t been seen in leaks in a while.
In 2021, Tech Radar also pointed out that a modder discovered these same Pixel device codenames within a Samsung modem. This could indicate that the phone is a new Pixel device and might use the same new Tensor chipset as the other Pixel 6 phones.
Trying to find other details on the specs for the foldable Google phone is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, display analyst Ross Young did drop some interesting information in 2021 about Samsung, saying the company will provide foldable displays for six devices in that year.
Outside of Samsung’s own Z Flip3 and Z Fold3, this left a few devices unchecked, one of which was believed to be the Google Foldable.
Young also dropped some specs for the Google foldable saying it will be 7.57-inches and feature a 120Hz and LTPO display. It should be noted that, in late 2021, OPPO confirmed its first foldable phone with a 7.1-inch screen, giving some weight to this leak.
Today's leak – All 2021 foldables using panels from Samsung Display will be 120Hz and LTPO. This of course covers the 6.70" Z Flip 3, 7.55" Z Fold 3 as well as the 7.57" foldable from Google, 7.11" from Oppo, 8.2" from Vivo and 8.1" from Xiaomi.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) July 19, 2021
The Elec (via 9to5 Google) also pointed out in June that Samsung Display was supposed to start production on new foldable displays for Google, Vivo and Xiaomi starting in October 2021.
It’s likely that the foldable Google Pixel will release sometime in 2022, if at all. Rumours first indicated that the Pixel Fold would be released before the end of 2021, but this obviously didn’t end up happening.
This article has been updated since its original publication and we will continue to make updates as more news comes out about the potential Google Pixel Fold.