OPINION: Early renders of what the Google Pixel Fold might possibly look like show that it could win us over after the shortcomings of the Pixel Watch.
It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a year from Google. We had our socks knocked off by the excellent Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro handsets, which offered inviting software and excellent cameras all at a relatively affordable price, but this only made up slightly for the bitter disappointment of the Pixel Watch.
The long-awaited Google wearable had started to feel a bit like the object of a strange doomsday cult, with dedicated followers annually insisting that this would be the year we would finally see it in the flesh. Unlike most such sects, the Pixel Watch did indeed arrive, but many would-be fans might have wished they’d had to stay in their eschatological sandwich boards for another year or two.
Battery life and exercise tracking were particularly underwhelming, with it sometimes lasting less than 24hrs and being completely inaccurate in monitoring swimming. I reckon that Google should have kept the device in development for a bit longer, until it was ready for prime time. Now, what does this sentiment remind us of? Oh yes, the launch of foldable phones.
The early years of such handsets were beset by problems that should have been troubleshot in early development. The excessive vulnerability of the screen and the hinge of the first Samsung Galaxy Fold was a particular embarrassment, but even now, the form factor can suffer from poorly optimised software.
With that in mind, it has recently emerged that another messiah is on its way from Google. Another product whispered about for years – the Pixel Fold – is said to be finally arriving on this celestial plane within several months. May 2023, to be precise. How can Google make sure that this device actually does live up to the hype?
Well, for one thing, the renders that we’ve seen this week do certainly leave a positive impression. The screen looks particularly large, while the design language is evidently held over from the impressive Pixel 7 range. What’s more, it looks to offer the same camera system as the Pro, which would be a particular boon as photographic abilities on foldables have sometimes flattered to deceive when compared with slate-shaped flagships.
Foldables are no longer in their infancy, and more and more manufacturers are looking to get in on the game. There’s no shame in Google getting there later than Huawei or Samsung, but this time, we’d like to see that the time has been put to good use, so that Google can hit the ground running and once again wow us with the software and hardware expertise it undoubtedly has – rather than letting us get hung up on minor pitfalls.