How Google Pixel Fold will push foldables into the mainstream

Google has announced the new Pixel Fold device which is available for pre-order before its official launch in stores next month

The Google Pixel Fold is set to hit the shelves with its game-changing split screen that lets you do two things at one. Further exciting new features include its powerful processor, top security, and Google’s best camera yet on a foldable phone.

The much anticipated device is Google’s first super premium smartphone, expected to take the market by storm. Its capabilities include a hinge and bezel mechanism with a display that operates when the phone is both open and fully closed. It means users can not only use the device in the traditional one-handed mode, but also with two hands making it comparable to a tablet or even a laptop.

Although foldable devices remain firmly in second place behind traditional phones for the time being, they are undoubtedly growing in popularity with sales taking off in 2021 and beyond. Around 11.5 million foldables were shipped in 2021 marking an astonishing 309% year over year increase, according to research firm Omdia. The figures are only expected to keep growing with shipments reaching 14 million units in 2022, it said.

While global shipments in 2021 were put at 7.1 million by the International Data Corporation – a 264% increase compared to 2020. And there is plenty more opportunity, with the overall smartphone market currently recording 286 million shipped devices in Q2 of 2022 alone, it added.

Google Pixel Fold can be used like a tablet or even a laptop when it comes to watching video content
Credit: Google Pixel

Led by Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold and Flip range, foldables have a screen that can be expanded and manipulated. Huawei recently announced it too was launching a new foldable, the Pocket S, which looks to be a solid addition to the current landscape. Furthermore, the highly anticipated Pixel Fold is Google’s most innovative contribution to the market yet, priced at £1,749. While its regular phones struggle to stand out in a saturated market, the Pixel Fold is an opportunity for the brand to stand out.

Sceptics say there is some way to go before foldables truly take off. Improvements they suggest include lowering the price, a stronger main screen, dust resistance, no crease on the folding screen, and no air gap when folded shut. Other suggestions include better battery performance, better hinge design, and more supported apps.

It is not known if or when foldable phones will become mainstream, but the sooner these are fixed, the more certain this will become.

The Google Pixel Fold has a two screen function
Credit: Pixel Fold

Some problems have already been fixed, which are clear to see with Google’s Pixel Fold. The same is true for Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 4 which is operates sharply and smoothly with Qualcomm’s latest top processor the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and a battery that lasts around 35 hours between charges. However, there is still a visible crease when opened and it remains one of the most expensive devices you can buy at £1,649, or US $1,799.

Despite the challenges, Samsung is convinced that foldable phones are the future, launching its Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold last August.

In summary, foldables are a smartphone segment to watch, with the Pixel Fold appearing ahead of the curve. But there are several obstacles stopping them from becoming as common as standard mobile phones including its higher price tag. In addition, companies like Google and Samsung are still working to figure out how to put the bendable screen to use in a way that maximises their potential and distinguishes them from the rest of the market.

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