Has Google Dropped the Pixel Fold?

Published November 15, 2021

DSCC has confirmed with its supply chain sources that Google has decided not to bring the Pixel Fold to market. Not in 2021 and reportedly not in the first half of 2022. Our sources indicated that Google believed the product wouldn’t be as competitive as it needed to be. They likely figured that competing against Samsung in the US and Europe in a small niche market facing higher costs and fewer features than their primary competitor, would stack the odds against this project. I point out regional differences as in China, where Samsung is not as strong, we do expect to see many competing products with similar form factors from Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Honor.

In terms of hardware, the Pixel Fold was expected to be the same size as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with LTPO and variable refresh up to 120Hz. Unlike the Z Fold 3, it was not expected to have pen input, color on encapsulation nor an under panel camera. In addition, there were rumors that the cameras were not going to be state-of-the-art. According to 9to5google.com, the Pixel Fold cameras were expected to be a step down from the recently released Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It was reported that the Pixel Fold would include the same 12.2 MP senor, the IMX363, used since the Pixel 3 as the main sensor along with the IMX386 12MP ultra-wide camera and two 8MP IMX355 sensors, which were likely selfie cameras for the inner display and outer display.

We hoped to see Google bring the Pixel Fold to market to see some software innovations unavailable initially on competing products. Android 12L was expected to be optimized for larger screens such as the Pixel Fold to enable more powerful and intuitive multi-tasking and better app compatibility, like the images here, which features a two-column layout. I guess Google won’t be the first brand to take advantage of these new features in foldables.

Android 12L

Our upcoming Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report will feature a number of important market developments in the foldable space including:

  • Will any other Chinese brands launch by the end of 2021?
  • What models will launch in 2022 with what features?
  • Which models from China will include color on encapsulation and UDCs?
  • What is the display supply chain for each upcoming foldable display as well as each cover display?

In terms of our latest results for foldable smartphone panel forecast, it will likely come down from 10.4M to 10.0M in 2021 despite the success of Samsung’s Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 on the Google cancellation and delays/downsizing related to new models from most Chinese brands on chip shortages. The Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 are expected to beat our 2021 forecasts by a combined 3% due to a stronger than expected December. Samsung's 2021 share is expected to remain 86%. For more information on our foldable content, please contact info@displaysupplychain.com.

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Written by

Ross Young