As we rapidly approach Google I/O 2023, it’s not surprising that more details about some of the hardware we expect at the event are continuing to leak out. As a recap, we fully expect to see the Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet (and it’s optional smart speaker stand), and Pixel Fold all arrive on May 10th at some point during the primary keynote.
While we’ve felt certain that these devices would all be debuted in an official capacity at Google’s next event, we’ve not been certain on actual availability dates for any of them. We can assume a summer launch of some sort for the Pixel 7a since that what the A-Series Pixel devices have done in the past, but that’s just a guess.
With the Pixel Tablet, we also assume a quick-turn availability since it was teased nearly a year ago at Google I/O 2022 and then shown off yet again at Google’s fall hardware event in October. Even if it ends up being the best tablet ever made, this has been an excruciatingly long wait, so don’t expect it to take too long before becoming an item you can actually purchase.
The Pixel Fold is more of an anomaly
The Pixel Fold, however, is a bit more of a mystery at this point. Sure, there have been plenty of leaks that give us a full picture of what it will look like and we have a pretty strong grip on the overall size as well, but we’ve not had this sort of large-scale internal info leak to a massive media outlet until the latest we’re now seeing from CNBC (via 9to5 Google).
According to internal communications viewed by CNBC, it is confirmed that Google will unveil the Pixel Fold at Google I/O 2023 and that it will become available for purchase some time in June. The report also states that the Pixel Fold should have the “most durable hinge on a foldable” up to this point and is set to compete directly with Samsung’s market-leading Galaxy Z Fold lineup.
Additionally, CNBC says that Google will include water-resistance in the Fold and they can also confirm previous rumors and leaks that the outer screen will be 5.8-inches with an internal 7.6-inch display. The Pixel Fold will also weigh a bit more than the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (10 oz. in total), but that extra heft will come with a larger, 24-hour battery inside that will be capable of 72 hours of life in battery saver mode.
With the same Tensor G2 inside that we have in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro (and 7a, likely), it looks like Google is ready to release this beast on the world at a price that – though it makes sense – hurts a little bit. CNBC says it will cost “upwards of $1700,” so that could mean a few things. For one, it could simply cost $1700 before any carrier deals or discounts. But there’s another possibility too. If that is a higher price based on a configurations with, say, more RAM and more storage than an entry level model, perhaps we’ll still see a version for a couple hundred dollars less become available as well.
While $1700 undercuts Samsung a tad, it’s still a big ask for buyers. And even if there is a version with something like 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM that comes in a few hundred cheaper, $1500 is expensive, too; there’s just no other way to say it. But smartphones are stagnant right now, and folding devices offer new ways to interact and new things to get excited for.
If Google positions the Pixel Fold in the right way, I think it could make a splash. Foldable phones are still on the fringe, but with no competition here in the US, Samsung has little reason to innovate and Google is in a position to offer a very compelling alternative. Where the Pixel phones are one of many slab smartphone options, the Pixel Fold will basically be one of two options that we have here in the US. If it avoids any big letdowns and there are offers and deals on it over the next 6 months, this could be the Pixel phone that breaks Google hardware into the mainstream. We’ll see very soon.