Pixel Fold: A week with Google’s first foldable phone proves the tech’s a long way from being popular Tech News

Four years after Samsung pioneered it, foldable phones are still awaiting a mass-market breakthrough.

It doesn’t help that the South Korean company’s first attempt in 2019 has been plagued by reports The screen breaks when the user tries to fold itAdmittedly, adoption of the smartphone-tablet hybrid has been slow.

Shipments of foldable devices in 2022 are just over 14 million units (of which 12 million are from Samsung That compares with a total of 1.2 billion smartphones, the Financial Times reported earlier this year.

Sales of foldable phones slowed in the final quarter of the year despite more choices than ever, including efforts by Samsung and Motorola to evoke the era of flip phones.

It’s certainly a far cry from Motorola’s Razr line in the early 2000s, when phones that felt neatly foldable were in just about everyone’s pocket. Now approaching its 19th birthday, the V3 model of the Razr has sold over 130 million units, making it the most popular phone in its class.

It’s hard to imagine current foldables gaining this level of mainstream appeal.and GoogleThe first attempt, which rolled out this week, probably won’t help.

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A model demonstrates TV services on a Motorola RAZR V3x mobile phone with UMTS capabilities provided by Vodafone at the CeBIT computer exhibition in the northern German town of Hannover, March 7, 2006. CeBIT, the world's largest computer and information technology exhibition, will be held from March 9th to March 15th, 2006. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Motorola’s Razr line was one of the most popular phones of the early 2000s

Blasting wallet price point

pixel collapse announced in may After months of anticipation and speculation, as the outside world knows apple — The search giant represents the best hope for a true competitor to Samsung’s dominance in the space. Google has long produced wildly popular smartphones, and its Pixel line is one of the best smartphones for Android lovers.

The Fold’s unveiling event received a positive response, as many components of the company’s flagship Pixel 7 Pro were redesigned to accommodate the slim design.

But the big one in the room is the elephant-sized price point: £1,749.

Pixel Folding: Key Specs

  • Screen: 5.8 inches, 7.6 inches when folded, up to 120Hz
  • Battery: 24 hours typical, up to 72 hours in power saving mode, supports fast wireless charging
  • Memory: 12GB RAM and up to 512GB storage
  • Processor: Google Tensor G2
  • Rear camera: 48-megapixel standard lens, plus ultra-wide and telephoto lenses with 5x optical zoom
  • Front and built-in cameras: 9.5 and 8-megapixel lenses, respectively
  • Security: Fingerprint and face unlock, guaranteed security updates for five years

Common Collapsible Questions

When it comes to foldables, high prices come with the realm. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold costs over £1,500, and the cheaper Z Flip is still £900. Foldable phones from Motorola and Oppo are priced somewhere in the middle, above the starting prices of most non-foldable smartphones with similar or even better specs.

It might be Google’s first foldable phone, but at £1,749, you definitely don’t want to compromise. The Pixel Fold may be fast and capable of running two apps side-by-side on its inner screen, but its Tensor G2 processor isn’t any better or more future-proof than the one in Google’s Pixel 7a, which costs just $449 GBP.

The Pixel Fold has yet to address issues inherent to foldable devices so far, such as the pronounced crease in the middle of the inner screen and its bulky build. It may be the thinnest foldable phone yet, with a 5.8-inch outer display that’s as comfortable to use as a standard phone, but it weighs a hefty 283 grams (40 grams more than Apple’s chunky iPhone 14 Pro Max).

While there were no early reports of Samsung’s first foldable phone being embarrassingly prone to breakage, fragility is still a very real concern. A note in the Pixel Fold box warns you to handle it with care to avoid damage, as if you needed a clear sign that this isn’t a device to leave unattended near adventurous pets or rowdy toddlers.

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Pixel collapsed.Image: Google
Its closed form factor is closer to a standard smartphone than Samsung’s taller foldables.Image: Google

Will foldable devices catch on?

Those concerns may not be enough to deter enthusiasts, and the current expected delivery date of August suggests that Google has enjoyed decent demand so far.

I tried out a review device of the Pixel Fold for a week, and like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold and Flip, it’s an amazing feeling to have such an adaptable gadget in your pocket. I set it up like a laptop for group photos on hikes, prop it up like a tent to watch YouTube on a train table, and open it like a book to read before bedtime… a book.

Despite the aforementioned concerns, I can’t deny that it’s often as much a treat as the cool new Buzz Lightyear was to my old iPhone’s Woody doll, and a conversation piece with friends and family just as much Like most people on Earth – have been using the same slab-shaped smartphone for over a decade.

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Pixel collapsed.Image: Google
Fold provides an enjoyable reading experience.Image: Google

But their interest tends to wane when the question of price arises.Whether you want the best specs, a clean phone for grandpa, or a new phone and Tablet-wise, there are options that are hundreds of pounds cheaper than the Pixel Fold and may be better suited for those with pets and young children.

It also goes to show that since the launch of the Pixel Fold, Apple, the world’s largest smartphone maker, Announced entry into niche mixed reality headset market, without even teasing a foldable iPhone launch. If the foldable revolution is going to get off the ground, the companies that helped kill the flip phone definitely need to be a part of it.

In its current form, the Pixel Fold won’t be the first.

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