Back in March, it was revealed that Google had been looking at foldable phone technology, with a patent for a bendy-screened handset. Now we have official confirmation straight from the horse’s mouth that the company has been examining use cases.
However, you shouldn’t expect anything any time soon.
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“We’re definitely prototyping the technology,” Pixel phone development lead Mario Queiroz told Cnet. “We’ve been doing it for a long time.”
But before you cancel that Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-order you should know that this isn’t something you’re going to see in shops any time soon. “I don’t think there’s a clear use case yet,” he explained.
For Queiroz, simply being able to make your screen bigger at will isn’t enough. “I think it needs to be more innovative than that. The use case is going to need to be something where you go, ‘Hey, I definitely need to have this’,” he continued. “Right now, you don’t need to have a foldable. It’s kind of a ‘nice-to-have’.”
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what that might be, then you can kind of see Google’s problem. If it were obvious, it would probably already have a release date attached.
Queiroz’s words echo what OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei told Trusted Reviews right after the unveiling of the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.
“Okay, now we can have a bigger screen, but very little thought has been put into the fact that now that we have a bigger screen, what are the new interaction models? How does the UX need to change for the larger form factor? It’s just the same thing with a bigger screen,” he told us back in February.
And in a follow-up statement, Queiroz confirmed that he wasn’t just being coy about a surprise announcement for Google I/O.
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“We’re prototyping foldable displays and many other new hardware technologies, and have no related product announcements to make at this time,” he said. “We’re focusing our excitement today on the new members of the Pixel family, the awesome and affordable Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.”
So while Google may indeed have a folding phone one day, it won’t be this week. Possibly for the best given the teething problems Samsung is having.
Beyond making small screens bigger, what uses do you see for foldable screens? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.