Today’s Google I/O 2023 keynote was pretty heavy on the AI just as we assumed it would be. Google needs to save some face after being caught off guard a bit when OpenAI and ChatGPT turned the tech world on its head late in 2022. It was a long, somewhat-excruciating wait for the hardware portion of the presentation, but in the end it was worth it. The Pixel Fold is now officially official, and that makes me quite happy.
Though we knew a ton about the Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet, and Pixel Fold before the keynote even began, Google shared a few things during their unveiling of the Pixel Fold that woke me right up from the general AI malaise I had found myself in by that point. In true geek fashion I even exclaimed, “That’s bad a$$” when I saw some of the software tricks the Fold will have up its sleeve. You can click play on the embed below and jump right to the Pixel Fold portion to watch for yourself.
Live translations on dual screens
The first of these software features that Google showed off was Dual Screen Interpreter Mode. While language translations in real time aren’t new to Google’s hardware, the general flexibility of the Pixel Fold takes this ability to a whole new level.
Leveraging both the inner and outer screens, users will be able to hold the Pixel Fold in an opened state and the translations – again, in real time – will populate on the screen facing each person. So, instead of having a translated conversation side by side, you could hold the phone opened up between you and another person, stand face to face, speak naturally back and forth, and see a real time subtitle to what’s being said. It looks amazing.
A built-in stand for astrophotography
Here’s another physical perk I’d not considered: the fact that the hinge of the Pixel Fold allows for it to be its own stand of sorts. Now, if you want to snag a great shot of an amazing night sky, you don’t have to wish you had a tripod around. As long as you have somewhere to set it, the Pixel Fold can basically become its own stand and be pointed at the sky for those long exposure night time shots.
App-specific split screen modes
Though there were quite a few other examples of split screen applications, the use of the Fold’s inner display for YouTube was a pretty compelling one. We’ve seen this on other folding phones before, but the Pixel Fold’s inner screen divides in a perfect way for YouTube to drop the video on the upper portion while adding controls to the bottom. In a handful of situations on a regular basis, perks like these will come in very handy.
And I suppose that is the real draw of this folding phone from Google. The software experience that Google offers paired with a unique piece of hardware opens the doors to experiences and use cases that many of us have never considered before now. And I cannot wait for it!
Hopefully we’ll get our hands on a review unit soon enough, but in the meantime, I know I’m getting in line to get one for myself. With only a couple of days of being back in the Pixel world (thanks to my hands-on with the Pixel 7a I’m using right now), I’m being keenly reminded why I love Google’s phones. And I think the Pixel Fold is going to deliver in some very interesting, very useful ways when it arrives later next month.