Google reportedly puts Pixel Fold on ice, and that may be a good thing

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,760   +141
Staff member
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 Foldables are still a very niche category, and in that price range, buyers expect cutting-edge hardware, not outdated cameras.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.

Image credit Triyansh Gill, Mika Baumeister

Permalink to story.

 

yRaz

Posts: 4,027   +4,385
The durability of my s21+ has been astounding. It survives commercial construction job sites and I'm not exactly easy on it. The screen only has a few scratches.

I bring this up because the durability of foldables makes them not practical for many people. Does anyone remember how easy it was to break early generation smartphones? It took a decade for phones to get where they are now as far as durability goes and it'll probably be more than a decade for foldables to get close.

That said, if they ever become that durable I'll be first in line to get one.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 978   +886
Couldn't think of a worse company to try and make something like this. Their QC is woeful and looking at the trash they've pushed out over the last 5 years, it would be a huge risk. They really should just stick to software.
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,948   +2,332
The durability of my s21+ has been astounding. It survives commercial construction job sites and I'm not exactly easy on it. The screen only has a few scratches.

I bring this up because the durability of foldables makes them not practical for many people. Does anyone remember how easy it was to break early generation smartphones? It took a decade for phones to get where they are now as far as durability goes and it'll probably be more than a decade for foldables to get close.

That said, if they ever become that durable I'll be first in line to get one.

I haven't used a screen protector on any of my phones, since around 2014. The glass is just strong enough (unless in an outdoor environment like yours). Would I like to have a folding phone?
Yep, will I get one? NOPE.
What I wish they would do, it make the phones WIDER not TALLER. But they won't because they still want people to be able to use "one hand". But, I like the idea of a wider phone...less chance people could text and drive. ;)
 

Watzupken

Posts: 432   +408
Couldn't think of a worse company to try and make something like this. Their QC is woeful and looking at the trash they've pushed out over the last 5 years, it would be a huge risk. They really should just stick to software.
I was thinking the same thing. The good thing about using Pixel phones is that you get great software support since it is Google's own product. But I don't think they have improved the QC of their hardware since day 1. You can fix some issues by means of software updates, but not everything can be resolved this way. So in the meantime, I will not consider Google's hardware when it comes to my own usage or even recommendation to others.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 410   +467
Couldn't think of a worse company to try and make something like this. Their QC is woeful and looking at the trash they've pushed out over the last 5 years, it would be a huge risk. They really should just stick to software.

We must be on different planets. They're the best Android phones out there hands down. Nothing wrong with the QC!
 

Aceseven

Posts: 164   +231
I haven't used a screen protector on any of my phones, since around 2014. The glass is just strong enough (unless in an outdoor environment like yours). Would I like to have a folding phone?
Yep, will I get one? NOPE.
What I wish they would do, it make the phones WIDER not TALLER. But they won't because they still want people to be able to use "one hand". But, I like the idea of a wider phone...less chance people could text and drive. ;)
The strange part is a fold would be the perfect phone then, when its opened you have that wide device and for me at least its changed my phone habits(I never texted and drove tho) but I have more fun using it unfolded than folded, although for 1 handed use its narrow screen and thicker body make it perfect for folks with bigger hands.

imo, foldables will never be as "tough" as a slabphone because of the folding part but in general the build quality feels top notch, just dont be butterfingers with it and go dropping it everywhere.