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Google Pixel Fold tipped to get this Pixel 6 super chip

Pixel Fold Concept
(Image credit: Waqar Khan | Remix via Nick Bush)

The Android 12 beta continues to provide possible insights into Google’s future hardware moves — with the latest report suggesting that the rumored Google Pixel Fold could use the exciting new Tensor chip.

Tensor is Google's new chipset coming in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and it promises a raft of advantages including enhanced AI and machine learning. What's more, if the Pixel Fold does have Tensor silicon, that in turn hints that Google’s first foldable could be coming this fall.

There are a few steps to this, so to back up for a moment it begins with a tweet from modder cstark27:

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To decode this, the first thing you need to know is that Oriole and Raven are widely believed to be the codenames for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Passport, meanwhile, is said to be the Pixel Fold. All three handsets, plus two other unknown devices, are linked by their use of the same modem: hardware going by the name of “g5123b”. This is likely a Samsung chip, given the most recently used Samsung modem has an almost identical number.

If all the devices are using the same Samsung modem, it also seems likely that they’ll be using the same main SoC — especially given the rumour is that Samsung is intrinsically linked to development of the Google Tensor chip

That’s exciting for two reasons. The first is that if the Pixel Fold uses the same Tensor chip as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, then it will also benefit from what Google says are its key advantages. These are enhanced security and the ability to process artificial intelligence and machine learning models on the phone itself, leading to a “transformed experience for the camera, speech recognition and other Pixel 6 features.” 

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The second reason is that if the Pixel Fold is using the same chipset as the Pixel 6, then it would make sense for it to launch around the same time. This could explain why Google has revealed so much about the Pixel 6 already: if the company seeds basic information about the more conventional handsets in advance, then it can spend more time talking about its foldable phones at its next event.

You can argue that there are a few logical leaps here, but it does coincide with another reported timeline. Last month, The Elec reported that no fewer than four unannounced foldables would be arriving before the year is out, from Xiaomi, Honor, Vivo and Google. The report claimed that Google’s order involves a 7.6-inch foldable screen, which just so happens to be the same dimensions as the recently revealed Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

None of this is set in stone, of course — not least because Google is yet to actually confirm the existence of the Pixel Fold. But if the above information proves to be accurate, we might find out more soon. Though we don’t know when Google’s next event will be yet, the company says the Pixel 6 is coming this fall — so we shouldn’t have to wait too long to put a date in the diary.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.