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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Insider says Pixel Fold is coming this year, rollable Pixel up next

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Samsung will unveil its 2021 foldable phones in just a few weeks. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 already looks like the foldable to beat this year. But there’s an even more exciting foldable that might launch later this year, the kind of phone everyone will pay attention to. That’s Google’s Pixel Fold that appeared in several rumors already. An insider familiar with display industry secrets indicates that the Pixel Fold has a late 2021 release date. But the same person also says that Google might launch a Pixel phone with a rollable screen after that.

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Google’s foldable secret

Google hasn’t been able to keep any of the previous Nexus or Pixel phones secret. All of them leaked in full long before they were officially announced. This year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL rumors haven’t been as frequent as expected. But we saw their purported design and specs already, complete with a few exciting tidbits about software and the upgraded camera.

The Pixel Fold is a much better-kept secret. This year, reports said that Google might launch three Pixel handsets in 2021, including its first foldable smartphone. Those reports did not provide any release date estimates for the Pixel Fold or the Pixel 6 series.

More exciting reports from Korea said that the Pixel Fold would be one of the new foldable devices getting OLED and UTG glass parts from Samsung. If accurate, these rumors imply that the Pixel Fold would be as durable as the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3.

2021 Pixel Fold release date prediction

Display expert Ross Young often makes display-related predictions about unreleased devices that might sport new screen innovations. He said on Twitter in a message that flew under the radar about a month ago that the “Pixel Roll has such a nice ring to it. It is in our forecast, but not expected in next 12 months.”

Pixel Roll is what we’d expect Google to call a smartphone with a rollable display. We saw concept devices with rollable screens from LG and Oppo. The former is no longer in development, as LG exited the smartphone business. But Oppo just recently demoed its first phone with a rollable screen.

In the same Twitter discussion, Young said the Pixel Fold will launch first at the end of 2021. He did not provide an actual release date, and analysts aren’t always correct. But Young’s remark is in line with other rumors that Google will launch the Pixel Fold later this year.

Young reiterated his expectation a few days ago that the Pixel Fold will be released in 2021 in response to questions about DSCC’s new OLED report. That analysis claims eight foldable phones will launch this year.

Google should unveil the Pixel 6 lineup during an early October press event. That’s where we’d expect to see the Pixel Fold, assuming Google goes forward with its 2021 launch plans.

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