Google Pixel Fold could launch alongside Pixel 6

Pixel Fold Concept
(Image credit: Waqar Khan | Remix via Nick Bush)

Google will show off the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro at an Oct. 19 launch event. But the company's already provided so many details about the new phones, you wonder what there is to talk about.

The Google-designed Tensor chip that will power the Pixel 6 models? Google talked that up back in August. We also know from Google that there will be two versions of the phone, and the larger one will have three cameras. Colors, screen sizes, display refresh rates — all of this has been asked and answered. Really, the only thing left to nail down is the price and release date.

The few Pixel 6 details we don't know won't fill up too much time in that Oct. 19 Pixel Fall Launch event. So unless Google's planning on calling us altogether to watch the longest recap segment in history, you'd figure that the company has something else to show off on that day besides the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

That would be where the Pixel Fold comes in.

The Pixel Fold is Google's rumored foldable device. The folks who insist that Google is working on a such a phone can point to patents awarded to Google for different foldable designs, plus a leaked internal document from August 2020 that claimed Google's 2021 plans would include a Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel Fold. That first phone is already out, and the next two more are joining it this month. That just leaves the Pixel Fold.

Furthermore, some leakers with a pretty good track record have insisted that Google will launch the Pixel Fold sometime this year, with some even going so far as to say that the Pixel Fold will appear alongside the two Pixel 6 models. All we know is if that 2021 target is accurate, there's only so many days left in the calendar to make good on that goal — and one of them already features a Google launch event.

So all signs would point to a Pixel Fold showing up at that October 19 Pixel event. For starters, the fact that it's being specifically billed as a Pixel Fall Launch event would suggest that we're getting Pixel devices and Pixel devices only — no Nest gear need apply. Second, we already know a whole heck of a lot about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, leaving lots of time for surprise products. And well, you'd sit up and pay attention if Google suddenly showed off a Pixel Fold when you least expected it, wouldn't you?

There's just one problem with this line of thinking — we've heard very little about the Pixel Fold specs.

Usually, at this point in the build-up to a phone launch, we would have a lot of details about an impending release. That's because phone makers turn to supply chains and outside factories to assemble their devices, creating the opportunity for many leaks to spring up. And Google in particular is especially chatty about its phone plans, as the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launch campaigns would indicate.

So if the Pixel Fold were going to appear alongside those phones, you'd think we'd have more concrete information at this point. Instead, it's mostly speculation and the occasional concept design. We think the Pixel Fold would run on the same Tensor chip slated for the Pixel 6 models because why wouldn't it, and we can make guesses about the camera array Google would include on a foldable phone. But we don't know any of this, at least in as much we can known anything about an unannounced device.

google pixel fall launch for pixel 6 header image

(Image credit: Google)

That would seemingly put the kibosh on any Pixel Fold launch on Oct. 19. You'd think the phone would need to be further along in development to be ready to release. But that doesn't necessarily mean a foldable phone won't make some sort of appearance, whether in the form of a teaser or even a sneak preview.

After all, the lengthy build-up to the Pixel 6's launch would suggest that Google's not shy about talking up phones before they're ready to be unleashed. Google made its Tensor chip reveal back in August, and these days, I can't stream a show on Hulu without a Pixel 6 ad flashing before me. All that's for a phone, which is more than a week away from its formal introduction as of this writing.

So yes, there's ample time on Google's Fall Pixel Launch event agenda to discuss something besides the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The question is whether there's something else to discuss. At this point, I'm willing to gamble that there is.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.