We’ve previously written about the reality of a folding Pixel phone from Google this fall to go along with the new Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel Watch. While I’m unsure about Google’s ability to pull off this complex sort of hardware, I’m 100% rooting for them to get it done in the right way. Part of that comes from sourcing the right types of materials, and it seems from earlier reports that Google is ordering their displays and ultra-thin glass covering from Samsung – the clear leader in foldable display tech at this stage in the game.
As 9to5 Google reports, there are a few more details to this story that not only further confirm that a folding Pixel is on the way, but give us a bit more of a working timeline to expect. According to the source cited in 9to5’s post (The Elec), Samsung Display will start production of foldable OLED displays for a few companies – Google, Vivo, and Xiaomi – later this year. The report also specifies that this production will begin in October 2021.
We all know Google likes to debut hardware in the late September/early October time frame, so this clearly means we’ll not be seeing the Pixel Fold (or whatever it ends up being called) going up for order alongside the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Instead, I’d imagine we’ll see a preview of this folding device at the hardware event and maybe even have hands-on with a prototype, assuming Google actually holds an in-person event this fall.
Let us not forget that they did the same thing with the Pixel Buds a few years ago, debuting the earbuds at the fall hardware event and shipping them at a far later date. My hope is if production of the displays begins in October, we could still see the Pixel Fold by year’s end. If display analyst Ross Young (who’s commented on the Pixel Fold before, corroborating other reports up to this point) is correct, we’re still in line to see this folding phone from Google by the end of 2021. If that is the case, it could make the purchase of the Pixel 6 Pro a bit tougher for me.
I’ve said in the past and I’ll say it again: a folding tablet/phone with Google’s software could be an absolutely amazing device if it is done right. With this being Google’s first try at this sort of hardware, I’m not supremely confident it will be without some serious build quality issues. With 7 versions of the Pixel phone in the rearview, I feel very confident that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be solidly-built phones. Will the allure of a foldable Pixel be enough to persuade me to plunk down the cash and give it a try? Who am I kidding? Of course it will! Keep an eye out as we’ll update if/when we learn more about this extremely interesting device from Google before the fall.