Google Pixel Fold's custom-built hinge took inspiration from various sources

Backside view of the Google Pixel Fold sitting on a table
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google details the inspiration behind the Pixel Fold's custom-built heavy-duty stainless steel hinge.
  • Google looked at several items such as paper, books, car door hinges, and, ultimately, a passport.
  • The 180-degree fluid friction hinge allows the Fold to sit completely flat when opened at the internal parts are shifted to the ends for the sake of a thinner device.

Google's first entry into the foldable market is a device many have eagerly awaited and one that'll land in consumers' hands soon. For now, Google has detailed the items that inspired the custom-built hinge users will find on the Pixel Fold — and the additional work required to get it right. To start, an industrial designer at Google, Sangsoo Park, stated the company looked at items like books, paper, and various hinges existent in the world already like ones for car doors.

While the inspiration gained from the likes of books and paper was "surprising," the hinge for the Pixel Fold is actually more like a passport. 

Park stated, "We wanted to recreate the way you can hold and close a book with one hand, and we wanted to replicate how both sides of it seamlessly blend together when shut." Passports fit the bill for this particular search, as Park stated it had a "nice proportion when closed and opened."

The unfolded Google Pixel Fold, showing the internal screen with crease

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Before the Pixel Fold launched, it was rumored at the device's hinge would be thinner than many of the hinges featured on similar phones today. Google explains that it built a custom 180-degree fluid friction hinge for the Fold. Opening the device allows it to sit completely flat as the hinge (internally) shifts out of the way of the display. 

A Pixel Product Manager at Google stated the difference between the Fold's hinge and others is that the former's has its components moved to the ends of the device to reduce its overall thickness beneath the display.

Sangsoo Park details how the Mountain View-based company needed to get the piece's torque (force) down for the foldable phone. The hinge needed to be "both really smooth and consistently reliable." The Fold's hinge is also described as one with a "vacuum" effect when a user fully opens or closes the device.

Furthermore, the Pixel Fold doesn't have a clear gap when closed — the two sides lie directly against one another. According to Park, the company wanted the device to "firmly close, so we needed to balance the magnets to find that happy place."

Durability was also a hot topic as not only did Google create its own machine to open and close the hinge during its development but the company took in early user feedback during its testing. One of the primary topics was how durable the Pixel Fold's hinge could be. Not only did the mechanism need to withstand constant folding and unfolding but it's also been strengthened by Google's choice to craft it out of heavy-duty stainless steel.

Consumers interested in grabbing the new Google Pixel Fold can begin submitting their preorders for the $1,799 device. The company's first foldable phone is powered by Google's powerful Tensor G2 chip, backed by the Titan M2 security processor for your digital safety. The Pixel Fold 5.8-inch FullHD+ OLED display on its external display and a 7.6-inch OLED screen when fully unfolded.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.