While the Pixel Notepad – known prior as the Pixel Fold – was never exactly cancelled, repeated delays have cooled the fire around this interesting foldable phone from Google in the past few months. With all the news from I/O 2022 showcasing devices like the Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel 7/7Pro and the 2023-bound Pixel Tablet, the Pixel Notepad feels like it was left behind. While not forgotten, the news cycle has largely side-stepped the device for the time being.
But there’s life left in this new form factor for Google, and it comes via a discovery from one of 9to5 Google’s APK breakdowns. In the latest build of the Google Camera app, it seems some references to the Pixel Notepad are present, and we see a particular camera feature being included that is aimed squarely at the upcoming folding phone from Google.
A folding-phone-specific camera mode
Code named ‘Jupiter’, 9to5 found reference of a new camera mode made specifically for folding phones, and as you know, the Google Camera is made specifically for Google phones. Thus, this is a new feature in one of Google’s core Android apps clearly being made ready for a folding phone of Google’s making. That means we’re looking at none other than the Pixel Notepad.
The only things found in the camera app breakdown were an icon and a position for this new mode selection element: adjacent to the camera switch button that generally moves users from a front to rear camera selection. Along with this placement and the included icon, we can make some guesses as to what Google is working on, but there was apparently no real references to the actual intentions behind ‘Jupiter’ at this point.
If I were to wager a guess at what ‘Jupiter’ will do, I’d go with something similar to what we’ve seen on other folding phones as a reference. Generally speaking, the rear cameras are always better on handheld devices, so this looks to be an option to allow users to flip the phone over and use the rear cameras as the selfie cam, likely leveraging the front display as the view finder while in this mode. It’s a nice trick that we’ve seen before, and I’d guess this is what Google is adding with this new ‘Jupiter’ feature.
The bigger news to me is the fact that Pixel Notepad development isn’t dead or permanently delayed. If they are working out camera modes for this device, it gives me hope that it could still show up sooner than later. While I’d love to see an arrival this fall alongside the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, I don’t feel like that will be the case. Those two phones and the Pixel Watch will likely be enough for a single hardware event from Google, but you just never know. The Pixel Notepad has been in the works for a long time, so anything is possible. I’m just glad to see it still has life left in it!