Leaked internal document hints at Google launch of a foldable phone next year

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. But there may be more: An internal document obtained by 9to5Google suggests the tech 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, likely the successor to Google’s existing mid-range phone, the Pixel 4a. There are also three more Android phones mentioned under codenames: Raven, Oriole, and Passport.

While there’s not much information on the first two, Passport is 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, in a CNET report last year, Mario Queiroz, the former lead of Google’s Pixel division, confirmed that Google is prototyping phones with foldable displays. But 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 of 2021, the rest of the three models could launch in Q4, 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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