Google reveals it’s working on foldable phone prototypes

But don’t expect a foldable Pixel any time soon

Google foldable phone

Samsung may have just had its first ever, high-profile foldable phone flame out in embarrassing fashion, but that’s not stopping other companies from looking into the technology.

Ahead of its I/O developer conference, Google says it’s also looking into foldable tech and has been prototyping foldable displays for quite some time, according to CNET.

“We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” Mario Queiroz, Google’s Pixel development lead, told CNET last week in an interview. According to Querioz, however, “I don’t think there’s a clear use case yet.”

That means we shouldn’t expect a foldable Pixel any time soon, or maybe ever. “We’re prototyping foldable displays and many other new hardware technologies, and have no related product announcements to make at this time,” Querioz said in a follow-up statement.

That Google would be looking into foldables is not that much of a surprise. The company revealed native Android support for foldable displays last November, ahead of the official Samsung Galaxy Fold reveal that same month. But given how closely the Apple playbook is followed, it’s rare that tech companies in the mobile hardware game explicitly confirm that they’re looking into new, exciting designs.

Since Asian phone manufacturers began revealing official foldable products, there’s been a lot of hype around the unique form factor and what kind of interesting new devices it could herald.

And long before the official products were revealed earlier this year, predominantly at Mobile World Congress in February, companies like LG and Samsung have been steadily showing off prototype improvements and illustrating how folding or roll-up screens might work. At CES, LG impressed the industry when it unveiled its new roll-up, 65-inch 4K TV, and a fair number of Samsung’s early work on bendable screens has made its way into products like the Galaxy Edge line.

Samsung was not quite as lucky in the full-blown foldable department. After earning itself a fair amount of positive press coverage for arriving first on the scene with a premium foldable version of its Galaxy smartphone, the company soon found out how fragile and unprepared its version of the hardware was when review units sent out to journalists began breaking in unexpected ways last month.

The company has since pushed the release date indefinitely to iron out kinks in the display tech. More

By Nick Statt@nickstatt