Rumors surrounding the Google Pixel Fold – a Google-branded folding phone – have been circulating for several years at this point, but a new development makes us think that a launch could now be imminent.
as seen by Android Police (opens in new tab), the latest 8.6 update to the Google Camera app includes a hidden icon that looks a lot like a foldable phone. Hardly conclusive evidence, but nevertheless a sign that Google is preparing its own apps for this device.
While the button doesn’t do much at the moment, it is possible that it will allow the user to switch between the various cameras on the Pixel Fold. If you follow the example of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, there will be three separate camera modules.
If you’ve never picked up a foldable phone – which is quite likely – you might not have realized that there are rear and selfie cameras, as usual, but also a selfie camera on the inner folding screen.
When the phone is open, you have a selfie camera on the big screen and effectively two rear cameras on the back. When the phone closes, the secondary screen kicks in and one of the rear cameras becomes a front-facing one.
This all needs to be accounted for in the software. Samsung has already tweaked its own camera app accordingly, and it looks like Google could be next in line – keep an eye out for other tweaks like this in the coming months.
Analysis: the clues keep coming
We’re not sure exactly when the Google Pixel Fold rumors started to arrive – possibly around the same time the first foldable phones started to appear on the market – but they’ve definitely been around for a long time at this point.
We’ve been fooled before into thinking that a Google foldable phone was about to be released, but this time it looks like there’s genuine momentum behind the idea that an actual product will be released sooner rather than later.
Some people have pointed to the October launch of the Google Pixel 7 phones as a time when we might see the Pixel Fold appear: that’s according to a well-placed industry analyst, so there’s some weight behind the claims.
There have also been recent tweaks to Gboard, the default software keyboard Google makes for Android, making it easier to use on folding screens. As with the Camera app update, it’s hardly proof, but it’s certainly suggestive.