The foldable Pixel may have appeared in Google’s Android 12L beta

The foldable Google Pixel is one of the many missing handsets of 2021. Many reports say that Google wanted to unveil its first foldable handset in the second half of 2021, but that never happened. Google has reportedly postponed the launch of its first foldable, with reports claiming that Google wants to create a more competitive device. The Pixel Fold isn’t even the official name of the device. However, the Pixel Fold is not dead and Google may launch a version of it this year. The foldable handset may have appeared in Google’s Android 12L Beta 2 release, which seems to confirm that Google is working on foldable devices. Separately, a benchmark for the Pixel Fold has also appeared online.

Google Pixel Fold animations in Android 12L

Early Google Pixel Fold leaks claimed the foldable phone would resemble Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 3. Moreover, the foldable handset would feature the same OLED display technology and ultra-thin glass cover as the Samsung handset. The Tensor system-on-chip that powers the Pixel 6 would also power the Pixel Fold. In terms of camera performance, however, the Pixel Fold won’t offer the same camera setup as the Pixel 6 Pro.

Animation of Google Pixel Fold SIM from Android 12L Beta 2: folded mode. Image source: Google via 9to5Google

Google software has mistakenly referenced the Pixel foldable handset in the past, so it’s no surprise to see these animations. According to 9to5Google, the animations appear in Android 12L Beta 2 which Google just released. They look like the animations you get when setting up a Pixel phone today.

Specifically, we’re looking at SIM card placement for a foldable phone that looks a lot like the Galaxy Fold 3. One instance shows the Pixel Fold’s SIM card placement relative to the external display (above).

The second image gives us the same SIM card slot, but looking at the unfolded Pixel Fold display.

Animation of Google Pixel Fold SIM from Android 12L Beta 2
Animation of Google Pixel Fold SIM card from Android 12L Beta 2: unfolded mode. Image source: Google via 9to5Google

The blog says that Google’s Pixel Fold design is more like the foldable Oppo Find N than the Galaxy Fold 3 when it comes to proportions. The Find N has a better take on the design of the Fold 3. The phone isn’t as tall and wider than the Samsung handset. This means the external display looks better which makes it more useful in folded mode.

The reference leak

The animations above aren’t the only Google Pixel Fold confirmations that imply a launch could happen sooner rather than later. Blog MySmartPrice discovered a Benchmark 4 list for a device called Google Pipit.

It’s the alleged internal codename for Google’s foldable Pixel. The same device was codenamed Passport before Pipit.

Alleged benchmark result for Google Pixel Fold - Google Pipit
Alleged benchmark result for Google Pixel Fold – Google Pipit. Image source: Geekbench

According to the benchmark, the Pixel Fold has 12GB of RAM and an 8-core processor. The foldable Pixel runs on Google’s latest version of Android 12. The listing reveals a single-core score of 4811 and a multi-core score of 11349 for the handset. This indicates that the phone will have more than decent performance. But we can’t compare it to the iPhone 13, because we only have Geekbench 5 scores for new Apple phones. It’s actually surprising to see the Geekbench 4 scores for the Pixel Fold in the first place.

These developments indicate that the launch of Pixel Fold could be closer than ever. We’ve already seen two new foldable handsets over the past few months, the Oppo Find N and the Honor Magic V.

Getting Google to join the foldable market early this year might make sense. This way, Google won’t have to launch foldable and traditional smartphones at the same time in the fall. Each form factor would have its own window to shine, and Google would have a brand new flagship phone hitting stores every 6 months. These are only speculations, however.

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