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Foldable Pixel might have appeared in Google’s Android 12L beta

Published Jan 13th, 2022 8:15PM EST
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable.
Image: Google

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The foldable Google Pixel is one of several missing handsets of 2021. Many reports said Google wanted to unveil its first foldable handset in the second half of 2021, but that never happened. Google supposedly postponed the launch of its first foldable, with reports claiming that Google wanted to make a more competitive device. The Pixel Fold isn’t even the device’s official name. However, the Pixel Fold isn’t dead, and Google might launch a version of it this year. The foldable handset might have appeared in Google’s Android 12L Beta 2 release, which seems to confirm that Google is working on foldable devices. Separately, a benchmark for the Pixel Fold also showed up online.

The Google Pixel Fold animations in Android 12L

Early Google Pixel Fold leaks claimed the foldable phone would look like Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 3. Moreover, the foldable handset would feature the same OLED display tech and Ultra Thin Glass cover as the Samsung handset. The Tensor System-on-Chip that powers the Pixel 6 would also power the Pixel Fold. In terms of camera performance, the Pixel Fold won’t deliver the same camera setup as the Pixel 6 Pro, however.

Google Pixel Fold SIM-card animation from Android 12L Beta 2
Google Pixel Fold SIM-card animation from Android 12L Beta 2: folded mode. Image source: Google via 9to5Google

Google software has mistakenly made references to the Pixel foldable handset in the past, so it’s not a surprise to see these animations. According to 9to5Google, the animations appear in Android 12L Beta 2 that Google just released. They seem similar to the animations you get when setting up a Pixel phone today.

Specifically, we’re looking at the SIM card placement for a foldable phone that looks a lot like the Galaxy Fold 3. One instance shows the Pixel Fold’s SIM card slot relative to the external display (above).

The second image gives us the same SIM card slot placement, but when looking at the unfolded Pixel Fold screen.

Google Pixel Fold SIM-card animation from Android 12L Beta 2
Google Pixel Fold SIM-card animation from Android 12L Beta 2: unfolded mode. Image source: Google via 9to5Google

The blog says Google’s Pixel Fold design looks more like the Oppo Find N foldable than the Galaxy Fold 3 when it comes to proportions. The Find N has a better take on the Fold 3 design. The phone is not as tall, and it’s wider than the Samsung handset. That means the external display has a better aspect that makes it more useful in folded mode.

The benchmark leak

That animations above are not the only Google Pixel Fold confirmations out there that imply a launch might happen sooner than later. Blog MySmartPrice discovered a Benchmark 4 listing for a device called Google Pipit.

That’s the purported internal codename for Google’s foldable Pixel. The same device had a Passport codename before Pipit.

Purported benchmark result for Google Pixel Fold - Google Pipit
Purported benchmark result for Google Pixel Fold – Google Pipit. Image source: Geekbench

According to the benchmark, the Pixel Fold features 12GB of RAM and an 8-core processor. The foldable Pixel runs on Google’s latest Android 12 release. The listing reveals a 4811 single-core score and 11349 multi-core score for the handset. That indicates the phone will have more than decent performance. But we can’t compare it to the iPhone 13, as we only have Geekbench 5 scores for the new Apple phones. It’s actually surprising to see Geekbench 4 scores for the Pixel Fold in the first place.

These developments indicate the Pixel Fold launch might be closer than ever. We already saw two new foldable handsets in the past few months, the Oppo Find N and Honor Magic V.

Having Google join the foldable market early in the year might make some sense. That way, Google won’t have to launch foldable and traditional smartphones at the same time in the fall. Each form factor would have its own window to shine, and Google would have a brand new flagship phone out in stores every 6 months. That’s just speculation, however.

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.