Internal correspondence obtained by CNBC reveals that Google is set to release its first foldable smartphone, the Pixel Fold, posing a direct challenge to Samsung’s dominant foldable phone business in June. The announcement is scheduled for Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, on May 10.
The Pixel Fold, codenamed “Felix,” is touted as having the “most durable hinge on a foldable” phone. Price placed above $1,700, the device is designed to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4, which retails for $1,799. Leaked documents detail Google’s plans to market the Pixel Fold as a water-resistant, pocket-sized smartphone with a 5.8-inch exterior screen. When opened like a book, the device reveals a 7.6-inch tablet-sized screen identical to Samsung’s rival foldable phone display. Weighing in at 10 ounces, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is lighter than the Pixel Fold but features a larger battery. Google claims the Samsung device can last up to 24 or 72 hours on low power mode.
Google’s Tensor G2 chip powers the Pixel Fold, the same processor used in last year’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones. This product launch comes amid escalating tensions between Google and Samsung. Alphabet shares plummeted over 3.5% on Monday after a Times report suggested that Samsung might replace Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine on its smartphone lineup. Google currently serves as the default search engine on Samsung’s smartphones, generating an estimated $3 billion in annual revenue for the tech giant.
According to the leaked documents, Google plans to offer various incentives to entice customers to switch to the Pixel Fold. For instance, the company will allow customers to trade their current Pixel, iPhone, or Android-powered phone for a discount on the Pixel Fold. Additionally, Google intends to provide Pixel Fold buyers with a complimentary Pixel Watch, the latest wearable from the company.
The Pixel Fold’s anticipated release highlights Google’s determination to carve out a niche in the burgeoning foldable smartphone market. It is competitive pricing and robust features, such as the durable hinge and water resistance, position it as a strong contender against Samsung’s offerings. Furthermore, Google’s strategy to encourage adoption through trade-in programs and bundled offers, like the free Pixel Watch, reflects its commitment to making its foldable smartphone a significant player in the market.
In conclusion, Google’s entrance into the foldable smartphone segment with the Pixel Fold is an exciting development. With the announcement expected at the Google I/O conference in May, consumers and industry insiders eagerly await the Pixel Fold’s debut. The device’s impressive features and competitive pricing, along with Google’s aggressive marketing strategy, could disrupt Samsung’s dominance in the foldable phone market.