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Rumored Pixel Fold camera setup might not be as impressive as we hoped

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

What you need to know

  • The Pixel Fold is rumored to feature downgraded cameras compared to the Pixel 6.
  • The device may feature the same primary camera sensor from past Pixel smartphones.
  • The foldable is also tipped to arrive in 2022.

New insights into the rumored Google Pixel Fold may give us an idea of what to expect from the device's cameras, suggesting that at least the primary sensor may be a step down from the latest Pixel 6 series smartphones.

9to5Google did some digging into the Google Camera APK and discovered references to a device codenamed "Pipit," which they expect is the new designate for Google's upcoming foldable, moving away from the previous codename "Passport."

From the code, they found that the Pixel Fold may not use the latest and greatest sensors found in Google's new flagship devices, instead recycling the same 12.2MP sensor used since the Pixel 3.

While the cameras haven't necessarily been bad, it would be a significant step down from the 50MP primary sensor of the Pixel 6 phones. Additionally, the device is said to feature a 12MP ultrawide sensor but will miss out on a telephoto lens like the one found on the Pixel 6 Pro.

It's not all bad, as the device is said to feature the same 8MP selfie camera from the Pixel 6 on the external and internal displays.

9to5Google posits the downgraded camera specs is likely a design choice to keep the device as thin as possible since even the best foldable phones tend to be quite thick when folded.

However, even with a lower resolution sensor, the Pixel Fold may still impress, given its likely inclusion of the Tensor chip. Google's computational photography turned past Pixel phones with the same sensor into real competitors to higher resolution cameras on other phones, and Tensor may step things up a notch.

Another tidbit from digging into the Google Camera APK shows references to "isPixel2022Foldable," harkening back to designations used for previous Pixel models. Obviously, this means we should expect the foldable to arrive in 2022 and not before the end of the year like previous rumors suggested.

That would actually fall in line with Android 12L, Google's foldable-focused update that will be released as a beta throughout Q1 2022 and could lead up to the Pixel Fold launch as Android 12 did for the Pixel 6 series.

Derrek Lee
Derrek Lee

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

3 Comments
  • Personally I feel like in the "review world" there is way too much focus on the camera.
    When going to buy a huge folding phone my guess would be people care about the screen and having a phone that can get as big as a tablet when they need it.
    I dont think people care about pixel peeping photos they take to see minute differences between models. Heck I went to Best Buy yesterday to look at the Pixel 6 phones because of all the review hype.
    Not impressed. Phones were nothing special and I even saw some hitches in the UI when opening apps.
    I looked at the Galaxy Z Fold 3 too. "How good is the camera" never even entered my mind when looking at it. The Fold was far more impressive to me than the Pixels.
  • The problem is that there are people who prioritize cameras on their phones that also want a foldable. Right now, there isn't a device that satisfies those people. I got the Fold, but I kept my Note 20 Ultra because the Fold's cameras are lacking. For most things, they are great, but the Note 20 U has a significantly better camera. It sucks that I bought an $1800 phone and had to downgrade my cameras.
  • I think, the way the Fold3 and especially Flip3 broke every sales expectations with their minimalist cameras is proof that camera specs has become the new multicore nonsense. Yes, the camera is definitely better on my S21U than my Flip3, but once I put the sleek flip phone in my pocket that point was irrelevant. I suspect a lot of manufacturers will drop the camera spec race the next couple years. The humps are just too big for the actual limited life quality improvements they deliver.