Google May Announce a Foldable Pixel Phone in 2021

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Earlier this week, Google introduced its latest Pixel-branded budget smartphone and teased a pair of upcoming phones it plans to launch later in 2020. However, as per an internal document obtained by 9to5Google, the search engine giant may have already kicked off development on phones for 2021 and one of them could have a foldable design.

9to5Google claims Google is trialing its Android software on a total of four, new mysterious phone models. The document explicitly lists an unannounced Pixel 5a which is likely the successor to Google’s existing mid-range phone, the Pixel 4a. In addition, there are three more Android phones mentioned under codenames: “raven,” “oriole,” and “passport.”

While there’s not much information on “raven” and “oriole”, “passport” has been labeled in the document as a “foldable”. Folding screens have emerged as the next, big technology in the smartphone world and it makes sense the company behind Android itself doesn’t want to miss out on the trend. Google added support for “foldables” on Android last year enabling developers to optimize their apps for multi-display phones.

Further, last year, in a CNET report, Mario Queiroz, the former lead of Google’s Pixel division, confirmed that Google is prototyping phones with foldable displays. However, he added that the company won’t bring it to the market until there’s a “clear use case”. Foldable technology has advanced a lot in the past year with several manufacturers such as Samsung actively investing in it. “Right now, you don’t need to have a foldable. It’s kind of a ‘nice-to-have’,” said Queiroz.

What’s more, the document also mentions the expected timelines of these under-development Google phones. While the Pixel 5a is slated to arrive sometime in Q2, 2021, the rest of the three models could launch in Q4, 2021 suggesting they will go public as the Pixel 6 series — falling in line with Google’s usual timeline for its budget and flagship phone announcements.

That’s not all. The report seemingly confirms that Google will roll out the upcoming Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 in October later this year. It’s worth noting Google’s France website yesterday inadvertently leaked that these phones will be unveiled on October 8th.

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