Google is exploring flip-style foldables in addition to Pixel Fold

Google Pixel Fold
(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel Fold doesn't come out until June, but that doesn't mean the company isn't looking at other types of foldable phone designs. In fact, don't be surprised if a Pixel Flip appears at some point, as the product manager for the Pixel Fold appears very open to the idea. 

The benefit of a flip-style foldable is that it gives users something very compact they can slip in their pocket while also providing a full-size flagship display when they open up the phone. The other key thing is that these types of devices tend to be more affordable than the book-style foldable designs available.

The Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 both have a starting price of $1,799, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 can be had for $999. The upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 5 will likely have the same price as its predecessor. Motorola is reportedly working on a new Razr 40 Ultra and perhaps a more affordable lite version. 

We're always looking at different types of devices, different types of technologies, and it's really interesting. We're definitely looking at it.

— George Hwang, Google

To be clear, Google hasn't announced any official intention to produce a foldable flip phone, but during an interview at Google I/O 2023, Google Pixel product manager George Hwang expressed interest in the form factor.

"We're always looking at different types of devices, different types of technologies, and it's really interesting. We're definitely looking at it," said Hwang.

At the same time, Hwang shared that Google is extremely focused on getting the execution right for the Pixel Fold right now. 

"The thing for us is we do want to focus specifically on this [book] form factor because of everything we can bring to it and ensure that we can solve some key user issues, from the design to the apps as well as the cameras," said Hwang. 

galaxy z flip 4 folded on a table

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For now, Hwang wants to make sure the first Pixel Fold is something that users want to carry around with them and use. And a big part of that was Google's decision to make the front display wider than the competition and to really focus on the thinness of the design when the Pixel Fold is open. 

"I challenged the team when we started this to carry these devices and make sure this is a device you want to use every day, not just a luxury device," said Hwang. "And so with that mindset, it actually changes how you think about it and the trade-offs that you make."

The Pixel team also worked diligently to make the continuity between the outer and inner display as seamless as possible, Hwang added, so you shouldn't notice a delay when you fold out the larger panel and keep working or playing on that larger screen. The Pixel team also wanted to make the Fold's side-by-side multitasking as intuitive as possible by making it easily discoverable.

But don't think for a second that the Pixel Fold will be the only foldable coming from Google.

"We're quite confident in what we're doing with [the Pixel Fold]," said Hwang. "But we're always exploring other other types of devices and other types of technologies."

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.