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Pixel Notepad foldable still in development, Google Camera code hints

Updated Oct 17th, 2022 10:01AM EDT
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable.
Image: Google

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We’ve been talking about Google’s rumored foldable phone for more than a year, with Pixel Notepad being its latest unofficial name. And a new discovery in the code of Google’s Camera app suggests that the company hasn’t abandoned development plans despite reports that said Google wouldn’t bring the device to market this year.

We referred to the Galaxy Z Fold-like device as the Pixel Fold last year, as reports said Google wanted to launch the handset last fall. Then we learned Google had had a change of heart, deciding to postpone the foldable to 2022. Reports that followed detailed the Pixel Notepad name. And then rumors said Google had delayed the handset beyond 2022.

Google is not ready to confirm the Pixel Notepad

Google can’t keep Pixel secrets, so it’s very likely the Pixel Notepad leaks are accurate. Especially the ones that come from Google’s own Android software. But it’s still important to remark that Google isn’t ready to acknowledge development plans for the first-gen Pixel foldable.

After all, Google did unveil the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro at I/O 2022, several months ahead of the expected launch. Moreover, Google also showed the world the new Pixel Tablet and the Pixel Watch. All these devices had appeared in many rumors, so it looked as if Google was trying to get ahead of the leaks.

Interestingly, the Pixel Tablet won’t hit stores this year, so Google didn’t just tease 2022 hardware. Still, the Pixel Notepad foldable was nowhere in sight.

Foldable icon appears in Google Camera app

Google released a new Camera app version a few days ago, in time for the Pixel 6a launch. And 9to5Google quickly tore the code apart, looking for clues about the future camera experiences coming to Pixel handsets.

It’s in the code of Google Camera 8.6 that the blog found confirmation that Google is still developing foldable phones. Specifically, 9to5Google found an icon for what looks like a foldable device similar to the Galaxy Fold. The icon instructs the user to flip the unfolded device.

The new camera mode has a codename, “Jupiter.” On the devices where it’ll be available, the Jupiter feature will have a button to the left of the Switch Camera button. And it’ll look like this:

An icon in Google Camera app for a Jupiter mode for foldable handsets.
An icon in Google Camera app for a Jupiter mode for foldable handsets. Image source: 9to5Google

There’s no description of what Jupiter does. Nor is there a mention of the Pixel Notepad foldable. However, the feature targets devices with a foldable screen. The blog notes that Jupiter will hide the Switch Camera button.

9to5Google speculates that the Jupiter feature will instruct users to flip the phone when unfolded and take selfies with the main camera module. They’d use the external display as a viewfinder and get a better selfie experience than using the internal selfie camera.

The foldable Pixel’s camera hardware

The code in Google’s latest Camera app version isn’t the only place where the Pixel Notepad foldable might have shown up recently. A developer combed through Google software to find camera details about various Pixel devices. He obtained information about the Pixel 7 models and the Pixel tablet.

But the code also gave him camera hardware details for the Pixel foldable phone.

According to that leak, the Pixel Notepad might feature a triple camera on the back with a 50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and 12-megapixel telephoto lens. If the Jupiter feature is indeed a selfie camera mode taking advantage of the rear camera, this is the setup you’re going to rely on for selfie photos and videos.

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.

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