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Did a leak just reveal more than one foldable Pixel phone from Google?

Published Sep 20th, 2021 12:17PM EDT
Google Pixel Foldable
Image: Google

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Samsung’s 2021 foldable handsets represent the Korean giant’s best generation of foldable phones. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 are more durable than their predecessors, and they’re significantly cheaper than before. Samsung has grand ambitions for foldable phone sales, as it’s looking to make the new form factor mainstream. But reports also say that Samsung has a second foldable revenue pipeline planned. The company will supply some of the key Fold and Flip components to other players in the industry, including Google’s first foldable Pixel. Unofficially called the Pixel Fold, Google’s foldable handset should launch by the end of the year, joining the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Now, a new report claims that Google might be working on more than a foldable Pixel handset. On top of that, a well-known leaker claims the Pixel Fold will indeed launch by the end of the year.

Pixel Fold launch plans

According to well-known leaker Evan Blass, the Passport Pixel Fold device will launch before the end of the year. Google has been working on the handset for over two years, he said.

Passport is Google’s rumored internal codename that has been associated with the foldable Pixel in the past. The commercial name of the handset hasn’t appeared in leaks. But we saw plenty of reports about the Pixel Fold recently. Some claimed that the Pixel Fold will use Samsung’s foldable OLED screens and Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) panels. Others said that Google might delay the foldable Pixel launch, but the handset might appear in teasers this year. Even Android 12 code that comes directly from Google itself seemed to confirm the Pixel Fold.

Google will probably launch the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro next month. Reports say the phones might hit preorders in mid-October, soon after a press event. Google is already showing the Pixel 6 publicly after soft-launching the series in early August. At the time, Google showed the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro designs, confirmed the new Tensor SoC, and revealed some of the main specs. But Google never acknowledged the existence of a Pixel Fold.

A second Google foldable might be in the works

A more exciting report comes from 9to5Google. According to discoveries in Android code, Google might be working on a second Pixel Fold handset. Joining Passport is a mysterious “Jumbojack” device.

The blog says it’s tentatively calling Android 12.1 the upcoming mid-cycle Android 12 release. And it’s Android 12.1 that includes details about Jumbojack. The gadget appears to be a tester device that Google used to test “posture” for Android APIs. Posture refers to the hinge positions of a foldable phone and includes designations like “opened,” “closed,” half-opened,” and “flipped.” Jumbojack might just be a testing platform, but Google calls it a “Pixel” handset in the code.

The report says that Jumbojack will feature two displays. One becomes unusable when the Pixel is folded. This suggests a design like the Galaxy Fold series, 9to5Google claims, but the Flip features the same type of design. The main foldable screen is on the inside and can’t be used when the handset is folded. On the other hand, the Flip features a significantly smaller exterior display.

The report says that the internal codename might be a reference to the Jumbo Jack cheeseburger from Jack in the Box. But it’s still unclear whether the handset has a Fold (hotdog) or Flip (hamburger) design. Finally, the blog claims that Jumbojack includes Android tweaks that won’t be available until Android 12.1 rolls out.

That said, it’s unclear whether Passport and Jumbojack will launch side-by-side or if Google will separate them. Again, Blass’s source said that the Passport will launch by the end of the year. He makes no mention of a second foldable Pixel device

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.