Google confirms long-rumored entry into folding smartphone business
Mountain View, California - Google has confirmed that it is expanding its smartphone business with a new foldable model, competing with rival manufacturers like Samsung in a relatively new and niche form factor.
A Pixel-like phone that folds out into a roughly square-shaped tablet can be seen in a teaser video released on social media ahead of its full unveiling at Google's I/O developer summit on May 10. Google has not yet shared further details on the device, called the Pixel Fold.
However, CNBC reported in April that the Pixel Fold would have a 7.6-inch display when unfolded. When folded closed, owners will be able to use a 5.8-inch screen on the outside. This would make it roughly the same size as its main rival, Samsung Fold.
Samsung has been particularly strong in the foldable phone business so far, and the South Korean smartphone market leader has two model series on offer.
In one, the device can be unfolded to the size of a tablet, while the other is more compact and is the size of an ordinary phone when unfolded.
Folding smartphones expected to remain a niche
Chinese brands have also introduced foldable smartphones in recent years, but Huawei has been stopped in its international business by US sanctions. Devices from other suppliers are meanwhile available in rather limited numbers, mainly in the home market of China.
Google has expanded support for folding smartphones in the Android operating system it develops in recent years. However, market researchers assume that the devices will remain a niche segment of the smartphone market in the next few years.
Analyst firm IDC expects sales to jump by 50% to 21.4 million foldable phones this year. However, this still makes up a tiny fraction of the 1.2 billion smartphones expected to be sold.
For 2027, the market researchers expect sales of a good 48 million foldable smartphones – that would still be a small share of the total market of 1.37 billion.
Cover photo: IMAGO / Zoonar