Google is pretty poor at keeping its phones a secret before release, and the Google Pixel Fold seems to be no exception. In fact, what appears to be a Pixel Fold has been spotted out in the world; on the New York Subway of all places.
One Reddit user (opens in new tab) spotted what might be a Pixel Fold on the subway, and took four photos of the device. Three of them are blurred beyond recognition, but a single shot shows that this is some kind of foldable device.
That image alone doesn’t prove this is the Pixel Fold. It could be any number of foldables that share a similar design.
However, the user claims they saw a camera bar on the back of the device in question, which is one of the modern Pixel’s standout features. It’s also appeared on a number of renders, but in a slightly blockier form than you’d find on the Pixel 7.
This would not be the first time unreleased phones have shown up in public, least of all a Pixel.
The Pixel Fold is currently expected to launch sometime later this year. So it’s not impossible that development has reached a point where a pre-release model could appear in public. Sadly this photo evidence isn’t really enough for us to say with any level of certainty what kind of foldable it is — just that it does appear to be a folding phone.
But if the Pixel Fold is in this kind of state, when is it likely to launch? Google I/O 2023 would be the obvious place, and we’re already expecting hardware announcements at the show — primarily the Pixel 7a and something about the long-gestating Pixel Tablet. But it’s still unclear, particularly given rumor-mongers’ habit of claiming the phone has been delayed or canceled.
There are plenty of rumors circulating telling us what we should expect, the most recent of which involves Face Unlock. The newly-released Android 14 Developer Preview 2 suggests that the Pixel Fold could offer facial recognition on the exterior screen, but not the inside. According to Za_Raczke on Twitter, the interior camera won’t support dual pixel — something you need for secure depth detection.
This does make some sense since, as I previously leaked, the inner camera on that device is a IMX355, the same sensor as the regular Pixel 6, and doesn't support dual pixel, which is necessary for secure depth detection. https://t.co/QOLmcvaNz7March 8, 2023
Other leaks and rumors claim that the Pixel Fold will offer a 7.69-inch foldable inner display with a 120Hz refresh rate. However, Google may avoid notching or adding a hole-punch camera to that display by opting for a bezel instead. The outer screen will apparently be 5.79 inches, and both are rumored to have either 9.5MP or 8MP selfie cameras.
The rumored specs on the main camera vary, from offering the same lenses as the Pixel 7 Pro to lenses with significantly less resolution. The battery is also claimed to be 4,400 mAh in size, which is more than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. That can only be a good thing as Google’s history with smartphone battery life is not particularly good.
It’s also likely that the phone will come with some kind of Tensor chip, which should give it an edge where machine learning and security are concerned — even if the Tensor is regularly outmatched in benchmarking tests.
Of course rumors and speculation are exactly that until we get some official word from Google itself. Google I/O 2023 is set to take place on May 10, so we better sit tight and hope the company is finally ready to share some foldable news with us.