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Android 12 beta might’ve just leaked Google’s first foldable phone

Published May 19th, 2021 11:35AM EDT
Google Foldable Pixel
Image: Waqar Khan

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Google announced Android 12 in all its splendor on Wednesday during a packed I/O 2021 keynote. And in the process, the company confirmed all the Android 12 leaks we had witnessed in the past few weeks. Android 12 brings over a massive design overhaul with user interface customization sitting at its core. “Material You” is the evolution of the Material Design principles that Google first introduced a few years ago, and it’s all about allowing Android users to create their own unique Android UI experience without installing third-party themes. Android 12 also brings over various new privacy and security features to users, including a new privacy dashboard that shows you which apps have access to your location, microphone, and camera. You can also use this new dashboard to quickly manage permissions. There are plenty of visual changes under the hood as well, including new widgets, notifications stacking, and a new Quick Settings menu to explore.

Users can already test Android 12 on their own devices as long as they own a compatible Pixel or one of the other supported phones that are capable of running the first beta. They can explore the new design and features, and also discover other Android 12 secrets that Google did not have time to mention during the virtual press event. They also might uncover secrets that regular users aren’t even meant to find in the first place… like the mention of several unreleased devices, including two Pixel 6 models and Google’s first foldable Pixel phone.

Leaks earlier this year claimed that Google might launch its first foldable Pixel phone soon. More recently, we saw the first Pixel 6 renders, which indicated that Google is working on two new devices for a fall 2021 launch, both of which feature a more exciting design than anything Google has done before.

While the authenticity of those renders is yet to be confirmed, the same leaker who created the images has accurately leaked many Android 12 features that Google ended up confirming during its Google I/O keynote.

Dissecting the code of this first Android 12 beta build, 9to5Google discovered references to multiple unreleased 2021 Pixel devices, including codenames and model numbers for four different devices. The info uncovered by the blog is as follows:

  • Barbet (Pixel 5a 5G) – G4S1M
  • Oriole (Pixel 6 family) – GR1YH
  • Raven (Pixel 6 family) – GF5KQ
  • Passport (Pixel foldable) – GPQ72

Those codenames leaked before in an internal Android document. A report last August from the same 9to5Google said that the Passport device was explicitly referred to as being “foldable.”

The fact that Passport is mentioned in the Android 12 beta code isn’t enough to confirm that Google will launch a foldable phone this year. Google may very well be testing a foldable phone of its own behind closed doors, so it makes sense that the company would want to run Android 12 on it for testing. The new Android 12 Material You design is meant to adapt to all sorts of displays, and foldables can undoubtedly benefit from the new, more dynamic UI.

Should Google plan a 2021 release date for its first foldable Pixel phone, we’ll probably learn about it months ahead of Google’s actual launch event. After all, no Nexus or Pixel phone has ever stayed a secret until its official debut.

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.