Google may have shied away from a Pixel Watch, but a Pixel Fold still seems very much on the way — following a leak last August that revealed the company planned to release its first Pixel foldable phone in late 2021, Korean industry site TheElec reports now Samsung will start manufacturing foldable OLED panels in October for its upcoming foldable phones from Google, Vivo and Xiaomi, which are reportedly set to be unveiled at the end of this year.
Google hasn’t really kept its phone folding ambitions a secret; in 2019 it published patent applications for its own folding screens and admitted that it had been making prototypes for quite some time. CNET that it didn’t have a “clear use case” yet. But now it looks like Google has a collapsible codename “Passport” that could be almost ready to announce. 9to5Google even spotted a new reference got to it last month in the code of Android 12, among other codenames believed to be the upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a 5G. TheElec says it will have a single 7.6-inch panel that folds inward, while Vivo’s upcoming phone will have an 8-inch main screen and a 6.5-inch outer display. It made no mention of the screen size of the new Xiaomi phone.
It’s not clear if a Pixel Fold will actually come with a screen designed by Google itself, though it could be; Samsung acts as a contract manufacturer for many other companies and manufactures some of Apple’s own processors. Anyway, part of the screen sandwich may still largely belong to Samsung itself: ETNews reports that Samsung will supply its proprietary ultra-thin glass cover (technically made by German manufacturer Schott) to other smartphone makers, and that Google is expected to use it.
Xiaomi already announced a foldable phone, the Mi Mix Fold, earlier this year, but it sounds like a second one is coming. TheElec Also reports that Oppo will delay a new foldable phone until 2022, which will have a 7.1-inch main screen and a smaller diagonal between 1.5 and 2 inches.