Google unveils Pixel Fold, its first foldable smartphone

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"Googleplex", Google Headquarters

Google has announced its entry into the foldable smartphone market, which is currently dominated by Samsung, with the introduction of its Pixel Fold. The device, which was showcased in a video and photos on Google’s website, features a large external display and an even bigger internal screen that can fold up like a clamshell.

More information on the Pixel Fold is expected to be released on May 10th at Google’s I/O annual developer conference. The event will also likely include details on a cheaper version of the Pixel 7 phone, a tablet that was originally previewed last year, its latest Android operating system, and advancements to its AI-powered Bard chatbot.

Google’s move into the foldable smartphone market is significant, as it shows the company is getting more serious about competing with Samsung and Apple in the smartphone space. Despite the widespread use of Google’s Android operating system, the company has struggled to gain a significant foothold in hardware sales.

While there is great interest in foldable phones, the market for these devices remains relatively small. Samsung currently dominates the category, followed by other players such as Motorola/Lenovo, Oppo, and Huawei. According to ABI Research, foldable and flexible displays accounted for only 0.7% of the smartphone market in 2021, with this figure expected to rise to just under 2% in 2022. This would represent less than 4% of the market but still accounts for a $42 billion segment. One reason for the slow uptake is the high price points of foldable phones.

The Google Pixel Fold, for instance, is rumoured to start at $1,700 which could limit its adoption by consumers.

The release of the Pixel Fold signals a new direction for Google, as it looks to challenge the dominance of Samsung in the foldable smartphone market. With more information to be released at the I/O conference, it will be interesting to see how the Pixel Fold compares to Samsung’s offerings and whether it can attract a significant market share.

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