Google’s Pixel Fold was rumored to arrive in late 2021. That obviously didn’t happen, and while we may now be looking at the second half of 2022, the good news is that it may be more competitively priced than the best. flip phone that currently dominates the market. And we may also have an official name.
Someone with “verified knowledge of Google’s pixel plans in the past” has said 9to5Google that Google’s first attempt at a foldable will cut the $1,799 Samsung charges for its latest Galaxy Z Fold 3.
While that may sound like a sensible deal, it’s worth remembering that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is itself a $200 discount compared to previous generations. We have not seen rumors about the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which is not expected until later this year. For Google, pushing its first-generation foldable for less than the market leader is pretty aggressive, especially when you consider the sunk R&D costs of bringing an entirely new product to market.
Pricing aside, the 9to5Google source also provided two other pieces of information.
First off, the branding: Apparently, Google is playing around with the name “Pixel Notepad.” type of stylus pen support. If there isn’t, and we haven’t heard anything to suggest there is, then the name seems a bit misleading. That said, apparently the name “Log Book” was also in dispute and, in the most diplomatic way possible, I’m pleased that one has apparently been shelved.
Second, the site’s source says that availability is apparently set to reflect the Pixel 4a’s launch in 2020, where the device was first available in the US before expanding to other countries at a later date. For the Pixel 4a, this was just a month, but the Pixel Notepad (or Fold, or Logbook) will likely face a longer process.
Get to that price point
While it’s important to take these three suggestions with a grain of salt (even 9to5Google calls its own report a “rumor”), let’s assume everything is correct. Exactly how would Google undercut Samsung on the first try?
A couple of previous rumors might shed some light on this. The first is the rumored chipset: Like the recent Pixel 6, Google’s first foldable is thought to use the company’s homegrown Tensor SoC. Given that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro undercut Qualcomm’s top-powered devices, that saving likely applies to any future hardware that shares the chipset as well.
Second, and more disappointing, a dive into the code of the Google Camera app suggests that the upcoming foldable could be some kind of downgrade of photography from recent Pixel 6 phones. While Google’s latest phones have used a camera At 50 MP, it looks like the Pixel Notepad will use the same IXM363 sensor found in everything from 2018’s Pixel 3 to 2020’s Pixel 5.
To be clear, those phones punched above their weight in terms of photography thanks to Google’s best-in-class image processing. And if it’s a slimmer device (the Pixel 6’s camera hump is an acquired taste), then it’s probably the right move on a phone that’s already the width of two phones when folded.
These two specs alone may not be enough to undermine the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, but they would certainly be a good start.