Google was rumored to be launching a Pixel foldable (tentatively known as the Pixel Fold) before the end of the year. Now, DSSC CEO Ross Young says the foldable has been canceled and is not expected to make an appearance in the foreseeable future.
Citing supply chain sources, Young says that Google will not be bringing the Pixel Fold to the market by the end of the year as previously expected. A release in 2022 is also unlikely, with the first half of the year ruled out for now at least.
With Android 12L coming to the market soon, it would make sense for Google to be planning a hardware launch to coincide with it — much like it has done with previous Android releases. That’s apparently not happening. Referring back to supply chain sources, Young says Google doesn’t think the Pixel Fold will be competitive against the Galaxy Z Fold or Galaxy Z Flip in the U.S. and Europe. Young points out that China remains for the taking, with companies like Huawei and Xiaomi working on their own foldables. But Google simply can’t compete there effectively with its service banned.
It is true that foldables do remain a niche market, and Google has yet to crack the more mainstream smartphone market with regular old slab phones. Google would not be alone in backing down from Samsung when it comes down in this market. TCL has also backed off from competing in the flip phone market when faced with the 800-pound gorilla that is Samsung. While it is undoubtedly a missed opportunity should foldables become big in the future, it’s hard to fault Google’s logic (if the report is true).
To paraphrase my colleague Andy Boxall: As Samsung is now so far ahead in the folding phone game, why would anyone else bother?