Google Pixel Fold could have a unique camera design — here's the proof

Google Pixel Fold renders
(Image credit: Waqar Khan/Let's Go Digital)

Google seems to have a unique solution available for the camera on its Pixel Fold, the company's long-rumored but never-confirmed foldable device.

First reported by 91mobiles (opens in new tab), Google just won a patent for an in-bezel camera on a foldable device. The patent, filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (opens in new tab) (WIPO), is one of two patents published on August 25 that shed further light on features that could find their way into a Google foldable phone — if the company ever winds up making one.

An drawing of Google's patented in-bezel camera for a possible foldable Pixel phone.

(Image credit: WIPO)

While patents don't necessarily turn into actual features, these two patents indicate a design with a vertical hinge similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, rather than the horizontal hinge featured on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr 2022. This falls in line with the rumors we have seen so far regarding the device, which could also show up under the name of the Google Pixel Notepad

In fact, there had already been rumors of a potential in-bezel camera, such as the one shown in Google’s patent. Leaker Digital Chat Station had hinted on the Chinese site Weibo that Google would ditch the notch seen on many smartphones and opt for a small, in-frame camera. While obviously nothing has been confirmed — including the existence of the Fold — this patent gives a strong indication of what Google might do with a foldable device.

Google Pixel Fold: Why ditch the camera notch? 

A drawing showing how the rumored Pixel Fold could look like.

(Image credit: WIPO)

A big reason for Google to ditch the camera notch is that it simply has not produced great results for Google’s competitors. While the outer cameras of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 were impressive in our hands-on testing, the under-display camera was a paltry 4MP which was underwhelming for such an advanced phone.

With an in-bezel display, Google may be able to get around this issue with the Pixel Fold. Admittedly, these cameras can often be limited by their small size — after all, even selfie cameras never hold up to the significantly more powerful (and larger) rear cameras. But even a slight upgrade could give Google’s foldable an edge over the competition.

The other angle to consider is that by putting the camera on the bezel, Google could provide a phone screen with no camera cutout or notch, something that basically nobody provides. This may be a small thing — I don’t even think about the pinhole on my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — but it may be a selling point for certain customers. 

Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 

Aside from the lack of an under-display camera and the inclusion of a noticeable bezel, we have a couple of other Pixel Fold rumors that may hint at how it may ultimately compare to the just released Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Notably, the camera differences between the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Google Pixel Fold won’t end there. Google’s foldable is rumored to feature a 50MP camera, two 12MP cameras and an 8MP camera, likely for the wide, ultrawide, telephoto and cover cameras respectively. This could mean a slightly upgraded telephoto camera compared to the 10MP telephoto lens featured on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but a slight downgrade from the Fold 4’s 10MP front camera. 

One thing that won’t likely be a big difference maker is the inner display quality. Samsung is rumored to provide a 7.6-inch display for the Pixel Fold similar to the one found on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. However, there is a notable difference. The Pixel Fold is tipped to only feature a 5.8-inch cover screen, giving it a wider aspect ratio than the what you'll see on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

Malcolm McMillan
A/V, AI and VR Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-based tools like ChatGPT. He has written up much of our coverage on the latest AI tools including ChatGPT, the new GPT-powered Bing and Google Bard. He also covers A/V tech such as televisions, soundbars and more, in addition to covering VR headsets from the Meta Quest 3 to the PS VR2.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.