While there was already some anticipation about the affordable variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL that could debut as the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 XL Lite in the coming future, Google is now rumoured for its plans towards a foldable Pixel phone. The new model is likely to have a design similar to what Samsung is designing with its Infinity Flex Display. The flexible display panel was showcased at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC 2018) in San Francisco, California back in November last year. Notably, Google announced at its Android Dev Summit, following the SDC keynote last November, that it optimising Android to support foldable smartphones.
Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin last year claimed that Google is working on as many as seven smartphones. Of that portfolio, two models already debuted as the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL and four models were said to come as an upgrade to the existing Pixel lineup over time. Murtazin, however, mentioned that one of the seven devices in the pipeline is a smartphone sporting a flexible display.
Murtazin suggested in a post on his Mobile-Review.com blog that the flexible display-featuring Google smartphone is a prototype for 2020. However, just in line with Murtazin's claim, a tipster with the @TechNavvi username on Twitter says that the foldable smartphone by Google is currently in works. The tipster even posted an image - apparently a patent application pertaining to the new model.
As we mentioned, Samsung showcased a foldable smartphone prototype at its annual developer conference last year. The South Korean giant is working closely with Google for its ongoing development. Further, Google on its end is also optimising Android for the foldable smartphone form factor.
At the Android Dev Summit last November, Google announced various optimisations to support foldable smartphones and even held a dedicated "Foldables" session to give a glimpse at what's cooking up behind the scenes. "We're optimising Android for this new form factor," Stephanie Cuthbertson, Director of Product Management had written in a blog post addressed to developers. "And, making changes to help developers everywhere take advantage of the possibilities this creates for amazing new experiences, new ways to engage and delight your users."
Android Q, the next iteration of Google's mobile operating system after the existing Android 9.0 Pie, is likely to include a list of features targeted to foldable smartphones. Google mentioned at the Android Dev Summit that there will be a screen continuity feature that will enable a smoother transition from one screen to other. Similarly, there will be a multi-resume feature that will allow multiple apps to run simultaneously on one, unfolded screen.
All this appears to set up the stage for the foldable Pixel phone. However, Google hasn't yet revealed any formal details about the new model. It is, thus, safe to take the rumours around a foldable Google handset with a pinch of salt.