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Google confirms it was working on another foldable phone, so what happened?
- A Google executive has confirmed that another foldable phone was in the works.
- The employee suggested that the phone was canceled because it wasn’t good enough.
Update: May 31, 2023 (12:30 AM ET): We’ve updated the article to reflect that this seems to have been an earlier revision rather than a second, distinct Pixel foldable.
Original article: Google finally launched its first foldable phone, the Pixel Fold, at its I/O developer conference earlier this month. We heard murmurings of a second foldable phone that was canceled, and Google has now confirmed the existence of an earlier device.
Ross explained on the podcast:
I’m really proud of the team because there was another foldable model that we had created, that we had the discipline to hold back and say ‘nope, it’s not good enough yet,’ and really wait until we felt like we could do something that was good enough or better than what was out there already.
“So, it’s really a testimony (sic) to the fact that we’re able to do that and recognize when something isn’t good enough,” the design lead added.
Google was rumored to be working on at least two foldable phones at one point. It’s unclear what this second foldable phone would’ve looked like or if it was merely an earlier version of the current foldable. Hints at the time indeed pointed to a second model with two screens, suggesting a Flip or Fold-style device rather than an out-folding phone like the HUAWEI Mate XS2.
In any event, a Pixel Flip would’ve made for a refreshing alternative to the Pixel Fold. Samsung previously admitted that Galaxy Z Flip devices account for 70% of all its foldables shipped in 2021. More recently, the company said that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 accounted for 60% of its foldable sales in Europe versus the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 40%. So we wouldn’t be surprised if Google eventually releases a clamshell Pixel.