We've got more leaks to report around the upcoming (yet unconfirmed) Google Pixel Fold, the first foldable phone from Google: apparently the device is going to be called the Pixel Notepad, and will come in at a lower price point than some of the premium folding phones already on the market.
This is according to sources in contact with 9to5Google (opens in new tab), who say that Notepad is a "working brand name" for whatever the device ends up being. Another name that was being considered was Logbook, it seems.
9to5Google goes on to qualify the leak by saying that "plans can always change before the product announcement", so the Pixel Notepad might not end up being the final name used. In recent years Google has kept the naming strategy simple with its smartphones, leading up to last year's Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro.
The price is right
As for the price of this rumored foldable smartphone, the same sources are reporting that the Pixel Notepad is going to come in at less than the price of a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – which will set you back $1,799 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 for the cheapest model.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that foldable phone technology isn't cheap to manufacture, so it's something of a surprise to learn that Google might be able to hit such a relatively low price point with its very first entry in the category (though all of this is unconfirmed speculation for the time being, of course).
Availability could be an issue too, according to the report – see also the global chip shortage and the Google Pixel 5a, which only went on sale in the US and Japan. We might see the foldable officially break cover sometime later this year.
Analysis: every phone maker wants a foldable now
With the likes of Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and others now pushing out foldable phones, it seems that the product category is here to stay – at least for the next few years, while manufacturers weigh up consumer appetite for these devices.
The first foldable phones to hit the market – the Huawei Mate X among them – were very expensive and not particularly reliable in terms of the foldable mechanism and hinge. Over time, prices have gone down, reliability has improved, and new form factors like the clamshell foldable have made their way to the market.
Now we're waiting for the two major mobile players to dip their toes into the water: Apple and Google. We've been hearing about a foldable iPhone for years at this stage, with the latest rumors pointing towards a launch sometime during 2022... maybe.
Given Apple's penchant for waiting until tech innovations have been well established and perfected before adding them to the iPhone, it seems likely that Google's folding handset will arrive first. If Google can get the product on sale for a reasonable price, then it could be another significant boost for foldable phone sales.