Update: The Google Pixel Fold has once again been tipped for an 2023 release. This time Q1 of next year is on the cards.
If you're wondering about the status of the Pixel Fold, a new report suggests you had better move Google's rumored foldable from the "on again" column over to "off again."
The Pixel Fold — also known as the Pixel Notepad in some quarters — was rumored to be in development for launch later this year. But now, a report in The Elec out of South Korea, claims that Google plans to delay the launch of its first foldable phone.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Elec says that the Pixel Fold was not as far along to compete with existing foldable phones. So it's back to the sidelines for this long-rumored device.
If you're not willing to take The Elec's word for it, consider this tweet from Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants. He's also got the Google foldable launch being delayed based on reports from the supply chain. The Pixel Fold is being pushed back to the spring of 2023, according to Young.
Hearing from multiple sources in their supply chain that the Google foldable launch was delayed till next spring… pic.twitter.com/QXr7hhV3ZXMay 25, 2022
This is the second time Google has reportedly shelved plans for a foldable phone. Last year, the Pixel Fold was rumored to be arriving soon, only for reports to surface in November that the Fold had been canceled. Almost immediately thereafter, new reports claimed the project was back on, with Google targeting a late 2022 launch date, perhaps around the same time as the Pixel 7.
We know the Pixel 7 is coming — Google told us as much at this month's Google I/O 2022 conference. It also showed off the Pixel 6a budget phone, arriving much sooner in July, and a Pixel tablet that won't be available until 2023. That there was zero discussion of foldable phones at I/O, even though Google is developing a version of Android that's optimized for folding screens, would suggest that the Pixel Fold is not as far along as those projects.
Previous Pixel Fold rumors have suggested a phone with a cover display that opens up to reveal a much larger screen. The Elec reports that Google's foldable was set to feature a 7.57-inch main screen with 5.78-inch on the outside of the phone. An ultra-thin glass cover would rest on the main display, allowing the phone to be closed shut.
If you're familiar with the best foldable phones, you'll realize that sounds an awful lot like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3, which also features a 7.6-inch interior display. (The Fold's 6.2-inch cover display is a bit larger than what had been rumored for the Pixel Fold.) With Samsung already at work on a follow-up — the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is expected later this year — Google is already having to play catch-up should it come out with a folding phone of its own. As a result, you can understand the phone makers's caution on when to release the Pixel Fold.
Right now, Samsung dominates the foldable phone market, though we hear other phone makers have rival products in the works, like the Motorola Razr 3. For the time being, it sounds like Google won't be among those challengers.
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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.