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Editor's take: Google tossed its name into the foldables hat early on, researching the technology alongside all the other major smartphone makers. But as Samsung, Motorola and others have come to market with early offerings, Google's has yet to materialize. A strategic move, perhaps, or just a case of bad timing?
Google publicly said as far back as May 2019 that it was experimenting with foldable display technology, and had been doing so for a while. At the time, however, Google’s head of Pixel development said they hadn’t really identified a clear use case.
Now more than two years later, in the wake of multiple foldable launches from rival Samsung and a challenging supply chain environment, Google may be no closer to launching a foldable than it was in 2019.
Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), claims sources in the supply chain have told him that Google has decided not to bring a foldable Pixel phone to market – at least, not in 2021 and not in the first half of 2022.
Sources said Google doesn’t believe the device would be as competitive as it needs to be. What’s more, Young pointed to previous rumors suggesting the device was destined to ship with non-state-of-the-art camera sensors.
All things considered, it’s probably in Google’s best interest to put the Pixel Fold on ice for a bit. Foldables are still a very niche category, and in that price range, buyers expect cutting-edge hardware, not outdated cameras. It’ll also give Google’s own Tensor processor some time to mature, give the Pixel 6 family more time on the market as Google's flagship handset and perhaps buy some time for global supply chains to get back on their feet.