The Google Pixel Fold — or Pixel Notepad, as it may ultimately be known — has been promised for a long time now. Originally expected at the tail end of 2021, it wasn’t mentioned at Google’s last event even when next year’s Pixel tablet got namechecked. Could that mean it’s even further away, or worse, never going to see the light of day?
A clue from the latest Google Camera app suggests that won’t be the case. As revealed by 9to5Google (opens in new tab) in one of the site's regular app teardowns, version 8.6 contains references to a new mode codenamed “Jupiter." The icon for Jupiter is extremely revealing:
That seems to be an unfolded tablet-style foldable (like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3) with an arrow pointing from the outside to the inside.
While 9to5Google says that the purpose of Jupiter isn’t confirmed, it seems to be something to do with the unique camera layout of foldables, where — thanks to having two different screens — you have two sets of front-facing cameras. When open, one of the selfie cameras joins the rear camera round the back, and this could simply be a way of choosing which lens to use, letting you take better selfies with the higher-spec cameras.
Alternatively, it could be a way of combining all three sources for reaction videos or similar.
What’s interesting is that this is something Google is actively working on, which means that the Pixel Fold could still be a 2022 product, even if it was conspicuously missing from the last event. That’s what display analyst Ross Young was predicting as recently as February — although that was three months before the Fold’s no-show at Google I/O.
As for other recent Google foldable phone rumors, the potential camera hardware on the Google Pixel Fold got leaked. This leak mentions a high-res a 50MP main camera along with two 12MP sensors (that could be for the front) and an 8MP one.
What we do know for sure is that Google isn’t done with its hardware releases in 2022. When the Google Pixel 6a was announced, the search giant said that the Pixel 7 and Google Pixel Watch would be arriving this fall, and the company’s events typically take place in October. Could the Pixel Fold be an Apple-style ‘one more thing?’ We’ll have to wait and see.