Google Pixel Fold 2: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google Pixel Fold 2: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Despite developing an operating system that’s used on a variety of devices and computers, Google has practically snubbed anything other than a smartphone. It’s notorious for having a love-hate relationship with tablets, for example, so it was a bit of a surprise that Google would launch its own foldable device. Perhaps even more surprising is how it might actually release a second-gen foldable phone. Given its pedigree, the next Google foldable is definitely going to pique people’s curiosity, whether it will be called the Pixel Fold 2 or the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. Judging from what we’ve been hearing so far, this foldable phone will be undergoing several significant changes, though not all of them might appeal to Pixel fans and onlookers alike.

Designer: Google (renders courtesy of Smartprix, @OnLeaks)

Google Pixel Fold 2: Design

For three generations since the Pixel 6 in 2021, Google seemed to have settled on a signature design that, unusual as it may have been, gave its phones a unique personality. It seems, however, that Google has gotten tired of that look and will be moving to a different design for the Pixel 9 series. For better or for worse, that change is apparently happening to the foldable version of the Pixel as well, but not in the same way as leaks and renders would have it.

The camera bump, which was a horizontal bar across the width of the Pixel Fold’s “back,” has now been reduced to a more conventional rectangle. But unlike the ones you’d see on other smartphones, Google opted for an odd horizontal layout, with black pill-shaped markings that hold the actual camera lenses. It’s definitely an unusual design, but unlike the current “visor” shape, many might find it visually unappealing.

Fortunately, there will be even more important design changes in store for the Pixel Fold 2 (or Pixel 9 Pro Fold), though they might be a bit more subtle. According to rumors and at least one leaked prototype, the next Google foldable will have an outer screen that is taller than its predecessor, yielding an unfolded shape that is more square than the first Pixel Fold as well. Whereas the Pixel Fold had a rectangular shape that resembled a small notebook, the Pixel Fold 2 could be more like a minuscule iPad mini.

This change in screen aspect ratios isn’t just cosmetic and will have important usability implications. It won’t be as tall and narrow as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is notorious for being almost unusable as a regular phone, but it could make it a bit more awkward to use the Pixel Fold 2 in folded form, at least with a single hand. Those who loved the current wider design of the Pixel Fold might be disappointed, but those who missed using a 16:9 phone will welcome this change.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Google Pixel Fold 2: Specs and Software

With the change in screen aspect ratios come changes in screen sizes as well, and everyone will probably love what’s rumored so far. The Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold is expected to have bigger screens on both sides, though there is some agreement on the exact sizes. Some claim that the external Cover Screen will be 6.4 inches and the main foldable screen will be 7.9 inches, while another source uses 6.29 inches and 8.02 inches for those same screens, respectively. Either way, it will still be a significant size boost compared to the current Pixel Fold’s 5.8-inch exterior and 7.6-inch interior displays.

As far as the hardware is concerned, Google might debut a new Tensor G4 on the Pixel Fold 2, a very big leap from the Tensor G2 on the OG Pixel Fold. Details on this new processor are still extremely slim at this point, but you can expect significant performance improvements, especially on Google’s favorite AI features. Uncharacteristically, Google might also be extra generous and give the Pixel Fold 2 as much as 16GB of RAM, something that even the Galaxy Z Fold 6 isn’t expected to have.

There seems to be some disagreement on which version of Android the Pixel Fold 2 will ship with, but that mostly depends on when the foldable device will actually launch. It could go with Android 14, which is the current version in circulation, or it could delay it to coincide with the release of Android 15. Pushing the Pixel 9 Pro Fold’s launch to the end of the year might sound unreasonable, but there might be one very good reason for doing so. Android 15 betas have revealed that Google implemented improvements to the behavior of apps on foldable phones, something that its Pixel Fold badly needed.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Cameras

It’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been any news on the kind of cameras that the Pixel Fold 2 will bear. The new camera design on the back may look like Google was making room for an additional camera, but the lack of news in that department suggests otherwise. In short, the new Pixel Fold may still be using the exact same three sensors as the current model, with some additional lenses for focusing or maybe a thermal sensor for taking temperatures. It wouldn’t be unheard of for Google, since it prefers to rely on software solutions to improve image quality.

Another big camera design change will be the internal selfie camera which used to sit on the Pixel Fold’s ugly thick bezels. According to leaks and renders, the Pixel Fold 2 will do away with those atrocities, which means there’s a need to move the camera to a different place. The consensus is that it will take the form of an under-display camera similar to the Galaxy Z Fold, but it’s also possible Google will opt for a simpler solution that has a traditional punch-hole cutout for the camera.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Price and Release Date

Although the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will be advertised as an upgrade, it doesn’t seem like a huge generational leap if not for the difference in design and the new Tensor G4 processor. As such, it’s probably only reasonable to expect that the price tag won’t go higher than the $1,800 that the first Pixel Fold launched with. At the same time, it’s also not expected to go lower than that either.

As for its launch date, that could depend on whether Google wants to delay it to sync with Android 15’s release. If it’s fine with having it run Android 14 out of the box, it could follow the same schedule last year that saw the Pixel Fold hit shelves in June. Otherwise, we might be looking at an October date after Android 15 goes gold. Either way, we’ll definitely find out more next month when Google reveals the real deal at I/O 2024.

Google Pixel Fold 2: Final Thoughts

The first Pixel Fold was definitely a surprise for Google fans. It managed to carry some of the personality of the Pixel design language to a foldable phone, along with Google’s blessed flavor of the Android user experience. At the same time, however, it really failed to stand up to other options in the market, and its very thick bezels were a big turn-off for more design-conscious consumers.

Fortunately, the Pixel Fold 2 will be improving on those pain points, but it raises the question of whether it’s actually enough or if they’re the right changes to make. The screens will be larger and have thinner bezels, but Google is also moving away from an aspect ratio that was praised by some reviewers as one of its winning traits. The camera design will definitely be divisive, especially if it doesn’t bring significant improvements to the camera system anyway. While the Pixel Fold 2, or Pixel 9 Pro Fold, will catch the attention of Pixel fans and market watchers, it might not end up being the big hit that Google wants it to be, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of low sales that will lead to the early demise of Google’s foldable phone line.

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