Google Pixel Fold: Everything we know about the Pixel Notepad foldable

A mock-up of what the Pixel Notepad could look like
A mock-up of what the Pixel Notepad could look like (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

It's easy to be skeptical that the Pixel Fold, aka the Pixel Notepad, will ever arrive. Leakers first promised a fall 2021 release for a Google foldable phone, then a fall 2022 release alongside the Pixel 7, and now insist it'll arrive in early 2023. Should we believe them? 

There are ample reasons to be skeptical, as Google itself tends to miss its own deadlines for products. But Google did finally schedule the Pixel Watch after years of delays, so we can hope the Pixel Notepad has a similarly dramatic reveal in 2023 — possibly alongside the upcoming Pixel Tablet.

Major Android brands like Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, OPPO, and Xiaomi have all launched several generations of foldable phones, evolving from expensive prototypes to more usable devices. Because Google is late to the party, the Pixel Fold will have a lot to prove to compete against well-established devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and won't have as much leeway for failure and experimentation as Samsung did with its first attempts.

What will the Pixel Fold look like, when will it arrive, and could it have more than one design? We'll answer all your questions with all the leaked info we could scrounge up, along with exclusive info we obtained from an inside source about its release date.

Google Pixel Fold: Release date

For months, over-confident leakers assured us that Google planned to release a Pixel foldable phone alongside the Pixel 6 in fall 2021. The Pixel launch event came and went, so they shifted the goalposts to a March 2022 release alongside Android 12L. 

When that didn't happen, we heard from DSCC CEO Rick Young that Google would begin its foldable production in Q3 2022, aiming for a Q4 2022 release. But Google I/O 2022 revealed a ton of Google hardware through late 2022 and early 2023, including the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch slated for fall 2022 as well as the Pixel Tablet in early 2023, with no sign of any foldable phone.

That made us uncertain whether the Fold would arrive anytime soon. So we reached out to a source with knowledge of Google's operations who told us confidently that the phone would ship in 2023, not 2022. 

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The latest Pixel Notepad launch speculation is that it'll debut in spring 2023, entering production at the beginning of the year. Young "is assuming it will launch in March," which could track with when the Pixel Tablet launches, too, and reaffirmed (opens in new tab) this October that Google is targeting Q1 2023.

On the other hand, Google does tend to announce new products at Google I/O and release them in May or later, so we'll have to see if it breaks that trend — or if it delays the Fold again to fall 2023.

With so many disappointments, it's easy to lose faith that this phone will ever arrive. But the Pixel Watch faced years of delays before Google finally felt it was ready for consumers. We suspect Google is taking a similarly cautious approach with its first Pixel foldable phone, so we haven't lost hope.

Google Pixel Fold: Name and models

Pixel Fold mock-up

A Pixel Fold Mockup (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

The name "Pixel Fold" has long been rumored, and may have been Google's internal name for it at one point. But it may not be the name that appears on the box.

Thanks to the popularity of Samsung's Z Fold devices, Google reportedly decided it wanted to differentiate its foldable name to avoid comparisons. It allegedly settled on Notepad after previously considering "Logbook," either of which would distance Google's phone from Samsung's lineup.

At the moment, leakers claim, Google internally refers to the device as "Felix." But that is most likely to avoid referring to it by whatever the final name is. Whatever it's called, the Pixel Fold may be just one of two Google foldable phones currently being developed. However, the latter model will most likely never appear on store shelves.

The Pixel Fold went by the codename "Passport," then "Pipit" in various code leaks. The first name refers to the phone's similar horizontal-folding, tablet-sized display to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and 4.

But code leaks suggest that Google may have another foldable Pixel phone, codenamed "Jumbojack." A code deep-dive from 9to5Google (opens in new tab) noted that Android devs had used this mysterious Pixel foldable for a variety of software tests based on the "posture" of the phone, such as "half-opened" or "flipped."

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Hands On

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

These two codenames evoke a passport opening horizontally and a Jumbo Jack cheeseburger opening vertically, respectively. While Jumbojack could theoretically ship alongside Passport — similar to Samsung's simultaneous Flip and Fold releases — we suspect Jumbojack will never ship, and was simply designed as a way for Google to test vertical-folding phones internally for its Android 12L release. 

But, in theory, Google could follow up on its Notepad foldable with a Galaxy Z Flip 4 lookalike down the line.

Google Pixel Fold: Pricing

Pixel Fold mockup on Galaxy Z fold 3

(Image credit: Android Central / Andrew Myrick)

We've heard several rumors that Google will try to undercut the Z Fold series in price by selling the Pixel Notepad for $1,400. That's $400 less than the Z Fold 4, for reference.

Google took a similar strategy with the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, which were priced at $599 and $899, respectively. By selling its flagships for less than the industry rate while offering high-quality performance, Google has made an impression on Android fans. 

Of course, $1,400 is still much more than most people would ever spend on a phone; most people bought the Z Fold 3 through carrier deals, after all. So we'll have to see what kinds of trade-in deals people can find for Google's foldable phone.

Google Pixel Fold: Availability

Samsung plans to make its Z foldables available in over 100 countries. But Google has always taken a more measured strategy for its phone availability. Upcoming phones like the Pixel 6a will only be available in 13 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. Meanwhile, the Pixel 5a only shipped to the United States and Japan.

It's unlikely that the Pixel Fold will sell outside of Google's typical markets. So depending on where you're based, you may have to stick with Samsung or OPPO for your foldable fix.

Google Pixel Fold: Design

Oppo Find N Half Fold Standing Front

The OPPO Find N (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

We'll break down several conflicting Pixel foldable design rumors below, but variances aside, most predict the Pixel Notepad will look similar to either the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or OPPO Find N, though with its own unique spin. 

Most recently, a 91Mobiles leak suggested the Pixel Fold will have a Samsung-made display. The source claims it'll have a 123mm x 148mm inward-folding display with 1840 x 2208 resolution; for comparison, the Z Fold 4 measures 130.1 x 155.1 unfolded with 1812 x 2176 resolution, making the Pixel Fold slightly smaller but with more pixels per inch. 

We also expect the phone to have a side fingerprint sensor (per 9to5Google (opens in new tab)) and a triple-rear camera module. 

The original 2021 Pixel Fold rumor from Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) suggested it would use a 7.6-inch foldable display with Ultra-Thin Glass, using the same display materials as the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But Google allegedly delayed the phone, canceled this factory order, and went back to the drawing board.

A later DSCC leak suggested that the newer Pixel Fold design would use a "similar sized foldable display" to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which has a 7.6-inch inner display and 21.6:18 aspect ratio. As for the cover display, Young claimed the Fold would have a 5.8-inch outer display with a wider aspect ratio than the Z Fold 4's thinner 6.2-inch display.

On the other hand, Weibo leaker Digital Chat Station claims that it will have a "relatively small-sized large screen" similar to the OPPO Find N, which has a more square-shaped appearance than the Z Fold series. 

Backing up this rumor, 9to5Google (opens in new tab) noted earlier this year that Google's example Android 12L animations show a square-shaped foldable rather than a rectangular one, which could mean that's how Google is envisioning its future foldable. Animations created to show off software don't prove anything definitive, but the Weibo leak makes this claim retroactively more credible.

Digital Chat Station also claimed the Pixel foldable will use a "full screen" inner display with no hole-punch camera, instead employing an "ultra-micro-hole camera" set within the frame of the phone. This would ensure the Notepad will have a seamless look without relying on an under-display selfie camera, which has yet to impress us on the Z Fold series.

Pixel Fold Patent

(Image credit: USPTO)

Google patented a foldable design (via Patently Apple) back in 2018 that shows off a clever three-screen design with a hinge and a smaller rectangular display that slides out to increase the footprint of the device. However, most patents don't end up reflected in their company's final designs.

We'll also have to wait and see whether the Pixel Fold will have a built-in slot for a stylus. Google could design a new, more compact Pixelbook Pen to go with its foldable. But Samsung abandoned a stylus slot for the Z Fold 4 to keep it more compact; we'll have to see if Google prioritizes slimness or utility for the Pixel Fold.

Basically, we've seen a ton of conflicting information about the Pixel Fold design, and we can't be sure of anything until we see official renders. 

Google Pixel Fold: Specs

Google Pixel 6 Material You

The Pixel 6 running on Google Tensor (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

If the Pixel Fold comes out in early 2023, it'll use the Tensor G2 chip. That's not from a leak, that's just our uncontroversial guess. The Android 12 beta source code found references to "Passport" using the same hardware as the Pixel 6 lineup, meaning the original Tensor. And if it doesn't ship until late 2023, Pixel Fold will likely use the Tensor G3 chi instead.

Google Tensor is a custom silicon platform made by Google and Samsung LSI that gave the Pixel 6 lineup a processing boost compared to past Pixels. The Pixel 6 series has had some issues with hardware bugs, but the Pixel 7 has had a much cleaner launch by comparison. So we're happy that the Pixel Fold (allegedly) got delayed if it means taking advantage of the Tensor G2 chip. 

Also, given the premium price, we'd expect the foldable phone to have 12GB of RAM, same as the Pixel 7 Pro (and Z Fold 4). Combined with Tensor G2, that'll put it on par with the best Android phones, at least for speed. 

And while we don't know whether the Notepad is still 7.6 inches as originally rumored, we'd expect it will have the same QHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate with LTPO for variable refresh rates as the Pixel 7 Pro, too. Anything less would make the Notepad look overpriced.

In terms of camera specs, the aforementioned 91Mobiles leak indicated the Fold will use a Sony IMX787 primary sensor (64MP, 1/1.3-inch) IMX386 ultra-wide shooter (12MP), and S5K3J1 telephoto sensor (10MP), plus an IMX355 selfie camera (8MP). 

Aside from the impressive-sounding main sensor, the selfie camera is the same one found in the Pixel 3 series, which doesn't sound ideal. The telephoto lens, however, is the same as the one found in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, so it will likely take pretty good shots at 3X optical zoom. 

Google Pixel Fold: Software

Android 12 arrived on October 19, 2021, alongside the Pixel 6, bringing with it some substantial feature updates and a snazzy design language called Material You. The Pixel 6 has an updated Security Hub, Pixel Call Screening, voice typing, Instant Translation, and other AI-backed tools, and the Pixel Fold will get all of these tools and more.

Still, it's Android 12L that should define your experience with the Pixel foldable phone. The folded Pixel will likely work like any portrait or landscape-oriented phone. But it adds a multi-window layout for all apps for split screens, so when you open up your phone you'll immediately see more content from that app all at once.

You can also place your favorite apps in a taskbar, then drag and drop them into one half of the foldable display so that you can multitask with ease. You'll be able to reveal or hide the taskbar at any time with a long press, so you're not constantly losing screen space to use it.

Gboard's new split mode

(Image credit: Radek Błędowski / Telegram)

Google updated its keyboard app Gboard for foldables in June, dividing the keys across two halves to give you a better typing experience. We hope this will be the first of many improvements to Google's core apps, in preparation for the Pixel Fold's launch.

Then, Android 13 arrived in August, though it mostly optimizes the changes made with 12 and 12L. Most likely, it's Android 13 that the Pixel Notepad will ship with, after which it would receive three OS updates to Android 16 and five years of security updates through 2028.

We'll have to wait and see how "stock" Android performs on foldables and how it compares to unique software developed by competitors like Samsung — which uses similar tools with One UI 4.1. In the end, that'll matter more than hardware for deciding how the Fold, or Notepad, stacks up against the best foldable phones.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.

With contributions from