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Don’t expect a foldable Pixel 4 this year, although Google is prototyping the new screen tech

Published May 8th, 2019 6:50AM EDT

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From the moment Google stepped on stage at Samsung’s developer event in early November to talk about the work it’s done alongside Samsung on adapting Android for foldable screens it was clear: Google was working on foldable smartphones on its own. Fast-forward to May 7th, and Google made it clear that it wants Android to run smoothly on foldable devices, starting with Android Q. That was another indication that a foldable Pixel might be in the works. As I said before, everything that Google bakes into Android will find its way into a Pixel phone — remember’s last year notch support in Android P? It turns out that Google did confirm that it’s exploring foldable handsets, but there’s no point getting excited about a foldable Pixel handset just yet.

“We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” Google’s Mario Queiroz told CNET before I/O.

However, the exec added that he doesn’t think there’s a clear use yet for these devices.

“I think it needs to be more innovative than that,” Queiroz explained after saying that foldables will be good for people who want bigger screens. “The use case is going to need to be something where you go, ‘Hey, I definitely need to have this.’ Right now, you don’t need to have a foldable. It’s kind of a ‘nice-to-have.’ “

The exec then made it clear, in a follow-up comment, that Google is “prototyping foldable displays and many other new hardware technologies, and have no related product announcements to make at this time.”

How would the Pixel Fold look? Well, we have no idea, but the demo that Google ran on stage at I/O showed Android running seamlessly on a device that looked a lot like the Galaxy Fold. That doesn’t mean Google will go the same way with its Pixel foldable.

Samsung’s first foldable is far from the success the company wanted it to be, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the Galaxy Fold ever launches, considering the major screen issues that prompted Samsung to delay the launch indefinitely.

Google on Tuesday did finally announce the Pixel 3a series, and the phones are already available to order. A major Pixel 4 upgrade is expected for fall, with a report claiming recently that Google has some three design teams working on next-gen Pixel models.

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.

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