The much-rumored Google Pixel Fold is looking ever-more likely to arrive this year, and it could be joined by a slew of other foldable phones.
That's going by a report from The Elec (opens in new tab), which claims inside knowledge of a suite of phone brands that will opt to use ultra-thin glasses (UTG) for their upcoming foldable handsets. These phones are reportedly the so-called Pixel Fold, Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold 2, foldable phones from Oppo and Vivo, and a handset from Honor unofficially dubbed the Magic Fold.
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According to The Elec, most of these phones will be released in the second-half of the year. We have no way to verify this and the claim may seem a little ambitious, so take it with a pitch of salt.
Given the first foldable phones came from Chinese brands, it's no surprise the likes of Oppo and Vivo are looking at embracing the from factor. But Google's move into foldables is more intriguing, given its latest phone, the Google Pixel 5, played it relatively safe in terms of smartphone innovation.
But rumors have been heating up around the Pixel Fold and now The Elec reports that it will sport a 7.6-inch screen when folded out.
What form factor it will take remains unclear, as do other potential specs. But as it's tipped to use UTG, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, we'd not be surprised to see the Pixel Fold have a design that's close to Samsung's current foldable. Having said that, there's a chance it could adopt a wrap-around design like the Huawei Mate X.
Regardless of the design, it's looking more likely that we'll see some form of foldable phone from Google this year. That's interesting as it means Google could be at the forefront of designing and optimizing Android for what are essentially dual-screen devices.
Samsung has already made lots of headway with the software on its foldable phones. But having a version of Android designed to natively run on foldable phones should pave the way for other brands to make foldables without extensive user interface customization.
The year of the foldable phone?
As for the other foldable phones mentioned in The Elec's report, these could be rather interesting, too.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold 2 is tipped to have an 8.01-inch inner screen and a 6.52-inch outer display. While Vivo's foldable is also rumored to have an 8-inch inner screen and a 6.5-inch exterior display.
Meanwhile, the Honor Magic Fold will reportedly have a similarly-sized 8.03-inch interior display and a 6.45-inch outer display.
Finally, The Elec reports that Oppo will also have a 7.1-inch foldable phone, complete with a 5.45-inch exterior screen. Though this one apparently isn’t going to arrive until sometime in 2022.
If this information is accurate, then we could see a lot more foldable phones in the market over the next six to 12 months. Whether the Chinese brands wil ship these phones to the U.S. or U.K. remains unclear. But more foldable phones means more tech, display materials and manufacturing processes are likely to be developed in tandem, which could mean the cost of making foldables comes down and thus such phones become cheaper.
According to the rumors so far, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be cheaper than its predecessor with a price tag sitting between $1,660 and $1,750. So we could be inching closer to a time when foldable phones sit at the $1,000 mark.
We'll likely know tmore about the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 very soon, as they're tipped for an August 11 Unpacked event reveal. And they could be the tip of the spear for a foldable-filled second half of 2021.
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