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Google Pixel Fold could challenge Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 later this year

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
(Image credit: Samsung)

Is a foldable Google Pixel phone coming soon? According to a new report, the company has requested Samsung to develop folding OLED displays for a phablet that could launch later this year, possibly referring to the rumored Google 'passport' project.

Korean tech website The Elec (via 9to5Google) said that Google "has requested Samsung Display develop a foldable OLED panel around 7.6-inch in size." That's the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, for reference, giving us a sense of what a Pixel foldable phone could look like.

We've seen hints of a so-called Pixel Fold foldable phone before, but no updates on the under-wraps project since the Google Pixel 5 lineup launched last year. Perhaps a foldable is destined to accompany the Google Pixel 6 handsets, expected this fall.

The Elec's report also names Oppo and Xiaomi as smartphone makers Samsung is allegedly providing displays for. Although the site says "smartphones using these panels will launch within the year," it does not clarify which brands will bring new foldables to market before the others.

No matter the Google foldable's release date, the report confirms a key detail about the rumored phone. Previously, we didn't know whether Google would follow Samsung's approach to foldable smartphone engineering, or if it would produce something like the Microsoft Surface Duo.

Now it seems Google is creating a true Galaxy Z series rival that could arrive to battle the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, or even the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. The Elec said Samsung is developing both in-folding (think Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip) and out-folding (think Huawei Mate X) displays for the trio of smartphone makers, but doesn't specify which design Google has requested. 

Whichever way it works, the most exciting aspect about a Google Pixel Fold (or foldable Google Pixel, whatever) isn't the hardware. It's that the company would be motivated to maximize Android's potentials on a larger screen. Samsung has managed, but the current phablet Android experience could certainly be smoother. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.