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Google foldable Pixel phone launch delayed to 2023, report claims

Published May 26th, 2022 10:01AM EDT
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable.
Image: Google

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Google did something unexpected at I/O 2022 a few weeks ago. After unveiling the Pixel 6a mid-range phone and the new Pixel Buds Pro earphones, Google previewed plenty of hardware that’s not hitting stores soon. We saw the Pixel Watch, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7, and the first Google Pixel Tablet. But the first-gen Google foldable phone wasn’t part of that teaser. And now we might know why: The handset’s launch is reportedly delayed to sometime next year.

This isn’t Google’s first foldable phone delay

Reports last year claimed that Google planned to launch a foldable handset by the end of 2021. According to rumors, the phone would have joined the Pixel 6 series.

But we then learned that Google wasn’t happy with it. The foldable phone had to be more competitive, and that’s why the launch was postponed to 2022.

The handset wasn’t canned, though we did learn a potential new name for the phone. Pixel Fold seemed like the obvious choice for the foldable, although Google never confirmed such a moniker. This year, Pixel Notepad became the new unofficial name for Google’s handset.

According to reports, this is supposed to be a phone that looks a lot like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold line. But Google’s version should be more affordable.

Considering that secrecy has never been Google’s strong suit, it’s likely these foldable phone rumors are accurate. For the same reason, the new report claiming that Google has decided to postpone the phone’s launch again makes sense.

Google's Pixel Tablet will launch in 2023.
Google’s Pixel Tablet will launch in 2023. Image source: Google

When will the Pixel Notepad launch?

Korean news site The Elec reports Google has once again postponed the launch of its first foldable smartphone.

Google reportedly wanted to unveil the Pixel Notepad during the fourth quarter, but has delayed the launch. It’s unclear when the phone will be available to consumers. At this point, it seems like the release date has been pushed to sometime in 2023.

The report says Google’s foldable phone would have featured a 7.57-inch foldable display with ultra-thin glass on top and a 5.78-inch secondary display. Samsung Display would have provided the foldable OLED panel.

But the Pixel Notepad isn’t coming together like Google wants, according to people familiar with the matter. So the design and specs might change.

The report also notes that Nexplus confirmed plans to manufacture hinges for a 7.57-inch foldable device. That could have been the now-delayed Google foldable phone. Nexplus also manufactures hinges for Samsung.

The fact that Google neglected to mention a foldable phone during the I/O 2022 keynote is also an indication of a launch delay. After all, Google chose to showcase the Pixel Tablet, which is vaporware at best right now. The tablet won’t launch until next year, and that’s something Google confirmed.

Then again, maybe Google wanted to keep the Pixel Notepad a secret for as long as possible. Even though it’s not a well-kept secret.

Google's Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are coming this fall.
Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are coming this fall. Image source: Google

Google is not alone

It’s unclear when Google will feel ready to launch a foldable handset. Meanwhile, Samsung will unveil its fourth-gen foldables this year, including the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Moreover, multiple Chinese vendors announced plenty of Fold 4 rivals already. Motorola is working on a new Razer that will take on the Flip 4.

By delaying the Pixel Notepad launch, Google is in good company. Apple has yet to release a foldable iPhone. And it might still be several more years before the foldable iPhone becomes a reality.

More Pixel coverage: For more Pixel news, visit our Pixel 6 guide.

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.