In 2021, sources have suggested that Google may finally launch its first folding smartphone this year. However, in the fall, the firm only presented the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, but no folding Pixel.
A product postponed several times?
However, new rumors have swirled that the folding smartphone that Google had planned to launch in 2021 has been canceled, but a new model, which will be called Pixel NotePad, is still in the works. Yet those rumors were implicitly brushed aside in May, when Google previewed its upcoming products.
The firm has indeed mentioned the Pixel 7, the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel Watch, and even a new tablet, but still no mention of a folding smartphone. Everything should lead us to believe that once again, Google has abandoned its folding smartphone project.
But, recently, the folding Google Pixel has returned to the news.
Google projects revealed by the code of the Google Camera application?
In an article published a few days ago, our colleagues from 9to5Google explain that while Google’s folding smartphone has already been postponed many times, it is still under development. To support this, the site mentions elements that it would have discovered in the code of the recent version of the Google Camera application, which manages the camera functions on Pixel smartphones.
Indeed, by digging into the APK of this app, the media discovered a new hidden mode whose code name would be Jupiter. Unfortunately, it’s unclear exactly how this mode will work. Nevertheless, according to the explanations of 9to5Google, Jupiter would be associated with a new icon representing a folding smartphone.
In other words, Google would therefore be modifying its Camera application for Pixel smartphones to offer a specific mode for folding smartphones.
The site explains that the only information available, for the moment, is the fact that this mode would disable the button to change the camera. And from that, we can for example imagine that Jupiter could be a mode working with only one camera, the one on the back, or that it could also be a mode using both the cameras at behind and on the back.
Either way, Jupiter’s development suggests that the folding Pixel smartphone is still in the works and closer to release (as Google is therefore preparing its camera app).
A folding smartphone that risks overshadowing Samsung?
If Google launches its first folding smartphone now, it would do so at the right time. Indeed, while this category of products had difficulty seducing the crowds in 2019, today, it is finally becoming more democratic.
Recently, Samsung announced that it shipped nearly 10 million folding smartphones in 2021, which is an increase of more than 300% compared to 2020 shipments. And the Korean giant certainly hopes to ship even more folding smartphones this year, thanks to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 that he plans to unveil at an Unpacked event on August 10.
But if Google also launches its first folding Pixel smartphone this fall, it may overshadow Samsung’s new devices. It should also be noted that while the macroeconomic context will affect smartphone sales in 2022, the impact will be greater on the entry-level and mid-range segment than on premium models.