Google Reportedly Has Two Android 12 Pixel Folding Flagships In The Pipeline

Google Pixel 5a
I am in total agreement that I shouldn't quit my day job and pursue a full-time gig manipulating images in Photoshop, as the above example makes painfully obvious. But let's not get distracted from the intent at hand—to show a folding Pixel phone. Preposterous? Perhaps not—rumor has it Google is working on at least two folding smartphones.

Rumors of Google getting into the folding phone game have been around for quite some time, but are now gaining steam with some new information and leaks. And it probably doesn't hurt that Samsung is seeing some success in the area. Enough so that it recently added a couple of new folding phones to the mix (see our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review, and also our Galaxy Z Flip 3 review for how they each fared).

According to Evan Blass, one of the more notable (and reliable) leakers in the scene, one of those handsets could come before the end of the year.

Google Folding Phone Tweet

"Heard from someone I trust that the foldable Pixel—codename: Passport, retail branding: unknown—will indeed launch before the end of the year. Apparently they've been working on this device for over two years, and if the P6 is any indication, it'll be worth a look," Blass stated on Twitter.

Assuming it comes to fruition, we could be looking at a Pixel Fold or something along those lines, depending on how Google wants to market the smartphone. The timing is especially interesting, because Google is on the cusp of releasing its Pixel 6 series, with a brand new Tensor system-on-chip (SoC) that it developed in-house.

Tensor is Google's first custom-built SoC specifically for its Pixel phones, and it is being pitched as the "biggest innovation in Pixel to date." Will Google really risk stealing some thunder from the Pixel 6 launch with its first folding handset in 2021? It's possible—Google could view the move as riding the momentum created from its Pixel 6 launch.

Google Folding Phone Patent
Two years ago, Google was granted a patent for a folding display technology (Source: Google via USPTO)

There's also supposedly a second folding phone in the works as well. According to documents seen by 9To5Google, the second foldable Pixel is codenamed Jumbojack. As the story goes, it has been used internally to test certain added features to Android 12 that would help take advantage of a folding form factor.

It's said the device features two displays, and that one of them is turned off when the phone is folded. If that is the case, it would be similar in form to Samsung's Galaxy Fold devices.

The other possibility here is that Jumobojack is not truly a second folding phone, but a prototype or one that is simply designed to test out features for Android 12. Passport, meanwhile, is the one that consumers will actually see, if the current leaks are accurate.

There's no mention of potential pricing, and should one or more folding Pixel handsets actually materialize, it will be interesting to see how Google's views them in relation to other premium phones—will Google focus on aggressive price points, or tack on a heavy premium? Google has the chance to influence the market, and we'll have to sit back and be patient to see how it all...unfolds (ba-dum tish!).