Google has patented a method to fold a phone in two and three parts, the latter in a Z-shape triptych. It’s the last of many evidence pieces that show that the Mountain View company is working on foldable Pixels.
While there’s no guarantee that these products will see the light, it’s clear that Google is pushing hard for what it believes is the future of mobile computing. Perhaps its engineers have been binging on Westworld way too much, but at this point there’s way too many breadcrumbs to ignore.
First of all, even while Google is not known for innovating in hardware, making a foldable Pixel to set the benchmark in a burgeoning and totally new market is the logical thing to do for a company that wants its Android platform to win over iOS.
We know that Google has been closely working with Samsung on the Galaxy Fold. Which is normal because it’s the number one Android manufacturer in the world and the Californian giant would like to help it experiment and get a new, potentially groundbreaking product to market.
But that’s only the first step. Google’s interest is clearly going beyond Samsung — the company has been readying Android to work with foldables and morphing form factors.
In fact, one of Android Q’s biggest new features is the support for foldables, something that Google engineers have been working on for a long time. Even the angled line in the Q logo is an obvious representation of a folded surface, a graphical statement that strongly indicates how important the push towards this form factor is for Google.
Google’s foldable mobile was first hinted by Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin — who inexplicably had very early access to the Pixel 3. Murtazin claimed that the company is working on a foldable Pixel, something that was recently echoed by an unconfirmed rumor.
To underline Murtazin’s rumor, we also know that Google is playing with foldable screens sent by Samsung’s display division, which at this point seems to be the only flexible OLED manufacturer capable of producing these type of panels in quantities big enough for commercial mobile products.
Looking at all these factors, it is clear that the Mountain View company thinks foldable mobile devices are strategic for the Android platform, and thus it makes sense for them to set that gold standard with a Pixel Fold.
In fact, this may be the final battlefield for Google to take Apple out of the map on. After all, we know the Cupertino company is actively working on a foldable iPhone too. The shroud of the tech giants have fallen. Begun the foldable wars has.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.