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Google’s foldable Pixel phone just got a big release date update

If you’ve been eagerly hoping for a foldable version of Google’s popular Pixel smartphone, the good news is that your wait may soon be over, as a reliable industry source has just revealed that Google’s suppliers will soon begin producing panels for the new device.

Over the past several years, Google’s Pixel phones have become popular for their cutting-edge features and “pure Android” experience. The Google Pixel 6 is among the best smartphones you can buy today, and it’s set to get even more compelling, with Google set to launch the Pixel 7 on October 6.

Left: Pixel 6 Pro. Right: Pixel 7 Pro.

Nevertheless, as rival devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 continue to garner more attention, a folding Pixel is the one thing that’s become conspicuously absent in Google’s smartphone lineup.

However, if the latest reports are accurate, we could see Google’s first foldable smartphone arrive early next year. It appears that Google has nearly finalized its design and is ramping up to begin production by the end of the year.

4 months till the foldable Pixel smartphone starts panel production. Are you excited? I am assuming it will launch in March.

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) September 6, 2022

The prediction comes from display analyst Ross Young, who is very well connected within the display industry. Young may not know everything about what’s coming in the next generation of smartphones, but he usually has an excellent read on what types of displays they’ll be using.

According to Young, the panels for the foldable Pixel smartphone — colloquially known as the “Pixel Fold” — are slated to begin production in four months, putting them right around the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. Young believes this would put the Pixel Fold on track for a March release.

A folding Pixel

Rumors that Google is at work on such a device have been making the rounds since 2020 when a leaked internal document provided some insight into Google’s plans. This included a device codenamed “Passport,” which was explicitly labeled in the papers as “foldable.”

The time wasn’t a coincidence, either. A year earlier, Google had added foldable support to Android 10, and Samsung jumped on the opportunity to preview its first-generation Galaxy Fold. While that original foldable wasn’t ready for prime time, by late 2020, Google’s engineers were surely looking for ways to improve upon that early concept.

Galaxy Z Fold 4's multitasking screen feature.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Sadly, those early rumors did little more than get our hopes up. While many believed that 2021 would be the year of the Pixel Fold, it came and went without a peep from Google even confirming the project’s existence.

Similarly, Google’s spring I/O 2022 event saw the announcement of the Pixel 6a and Pixel Watch, and even a teaser for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, but no word on Google’s foldable plans.

Since then, we’ve heard a few more interesting tidbits on the so-called Pixel Fold, including one that it could be called the “Pixel Notepad” instead and that Google might actually skip an inside selfie camera, at least on the first-generation model.

It also may not be a coincidence that Young posted his prediction today — the same day Google announced its Pixel 7 event for October 6. Although the folding Pixel is still at least six months away, it’s possible Google might offer us a teaser on the new device next month, much like it did with the Pixel 7 in May.

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