Leaked Google Documents Suggest Foldable Pixel Phone in the Works
Google plans to release a foldable Pixel phone in the fourth quarter of next year, according to leaked internal documents (via 9to5Google). Codenamed "Passport," the device is explicitly referred to as "foldable," and appears alongside a list of past and future Pixel devices.
Google confirmed last year that it is developing technology that could be used in foldable devices, although the company played down the prospect of actually launching a foldable any time soon, saying it didn't see "a clear use case yet." Today's leak suggests one is indeed in the works for a possible 2021 release.
Samsung was first to launch a consumer foldable device, but the Galaxy Fold suffered from major issues that impacted the durability and performance of the device. The tablet-sized device was unveiled in early 2019, but its launch was delayed until September while Samsung fixed the problems. Samsung has since launched the Galaxy Z Flip, a smartphone-sized device that folds in half and can be tucked into a pocket, but it has durability issues, too.
The launch of Huawei's first foldable, the Mate X, was also delayed last year before arriving in September. The Chinese smartphone maker said it was being more "cautious" that it had a quality device, after witnessing Samsung's troubles.
It is unclear if Apple will ever release a folding mobile device, but there is one rumor that it's working on a foldable iPhone prototype that features two separate display panels that are connected by a hinge rather than a single display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Whether or not such a device materializes, Apple has certainly explored the idea of foldable devices for years, as various patents show. Recently the company has been investigating ways to circumvent the issue of foldable displays creasing and cracking at the fold over time – a problem that has plagued many of the consumer foldable devices that have made it to market so far.