This is the cancelled Pixel Fold that wasn’t good enough for Google

The Google Pixel Fold launched relatively late compared to other manufacturers’ first-generation foldable phones. By the time it finally launched in mid-2023, Samsung had just launched the fifth iteration of its foldable style (and a second look with the more popular Galaxy Z Flip series), and several other companies had also made their debuts. This situation could have been very different, though — Google had another prototype ready a year before the original Pixel Fold but decided to scrap it because it wasn’t “good enough,” as Google’s head of hardware product design, Ivy Ross, revealed in 2023. Made by Google Podcast Episode.

While the existence of this canceled smartphone is a well-known fact, we never saw it in photos or learned about the full specifications, but that is changing today. Images of what appears to be a mysterious Pixel Fold-like device have quietly emerged for the first time XDA forum thread (The original images are now gone, unfortunately, but we have copies of them), prompting muted speculation that they are either fakes or early prototypes. Thanks to an anonymous source inside Google, Robot body We can confirm that this is indeed our first look at the foldable Pixel codenamed “pipit” and its specifications.

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that the two devices codenamed “pipit” and “passport,” which were rumored to be canceled foldable Pixel devices, are actually the same device. Although they were two different projects at one point, they eventually merged into one device that he continues to call “pipit.”

Familiar design

The canceled Pixel Fold has an eerily familiar look; The only feature that clearly sets it apart from the final version is a (mostly) smooth glass strip that runs across the entire width of the device, very similar to the Pixel 6. The released Pixel Fold has a smaller camera island made of brushed metal, matching the look of the Pixel 7 Pro.

(We apologize for the quality of the images below. This is the best we were able to salvage from the deleted images in the thread.)

Unfortunately, the device we’re discussing in this thread has a broken internal display, so we can’t compare it to the first-generation Pixel Fold. However, it is reasonable to assume that it looks similar, if not identical.

Normal specifications

If the “pipit” was released, it came a few months after the Pixel 6 series, so its specifications are clearly a generation behind compared to the first generation Pixel Fold, which was built on the base configuration of the Pixel 7. Instead of the Tensor G2 with Exynos Modem 5300, The device came with the first generation Tensor and Exynos Modem 5123, which was notable for the number of issues it encountered.

Likewise, the device had an older camera setup. While the first-gen Pixel Fold looked a lot like the Pixel 7a with its upgraded cameras, the “pipit” had a much older setup with the rather old Sony IMX363, which first appeared on the Pixel 3 in 2018! The other sensors were similarly downgraded, and the telephoto lens was completely absent. I’ve put together a comparison of the camera specs below.

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”) The prototype’s code name is “pipit”. Pixel Fold (codename “felix”) Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Basic

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”)

Sony IMX363 (12 MP) – 1/2.55 inch

The prototype, codenamed “pipit”

Sony IMX363 (12 MP) – 1/2.55 inch

Pixel Fold (codename “felix”)

Sony IMX787 (48 MP) Cropped – 1/2 inch

Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Sony IMX787 (64MP) – 1/1.73″

Ultra wide

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”)

Sony IMX386 (12 MP) – 1/2.9 inch

Prototype codename “pipit”

Sony IMX386 (12 MP) – 1/2.9 inch

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

Sony IMX386 (12MP) – 1/2.9″

Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Sony IMX712 (13MP) – ~1/3″?

Remote photography

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”)

The prototype’s code name is “pipit”.

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

Samsung 3J1 (11MP) – 1/3″

Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Personal photo (external)

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”)

Sony IMX355 (8MP) – 1/2.8″

Prototype codename “pipit”

Sony IMX355 (8MP) – 1/2.8″

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

Samsung 3J1 (11MP) – 1/3″

Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Sony IMX712 (13MP) – ~1/3″?

Selfie (internal)

Pixel 6a (codename “bluejay”)

nothing

The prototype’s code name is “pipit”.

Sony IMX355 (8MP) – 1/2.8″

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

Sony IMX355 (8MP) – 1/2.8″

Pixel 7a (codename “lynx”)

Unavailable

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The outer display was different from the Pixel Fold, with the device having a slightly smaller display measuring 66 x 128mm compared to 67 x 130mm on the Pixel Fold. The resolution was also slightly different, measuring 1080 x 2100 pixels compared to 1080 x 2092.

The prototype, codenamed “pipit” Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

measuring

The prototype’s code name is “pipit”.

66×128 mm

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

67x130mm

Accuracy

Prototype codename “pipit”

1080×2100 pixels

Pixel Fold (codename “Felix”)

1080×2092 pixels

Refresh rate

Prototype codename “pipit”

10Hz – 120Hz

Pixel Fold (codename “felix”)

10Hz – 120Hz

But one thing that surprisingly remained the same was the internal display, where the panel remained completely unchanged. But what’s interesting is that Google has developed a prototype of the device with pen input support. While the idea appears to have been eventually scrapped – the last prototype to incorporate the concept was the PIPIT EVT 1.0 Stylus – while other versions of the device have made it to the later DVT stage, it’s still interesting to see that Google was You explore something like this.

Build a good enough device

Google Pixel Fold in hand 4 1

Chris Carlone / Android Authority

While the Pixel Fold that ended up on store shelves is an upgrade to the “pipit,” it seems somewhat gradual, which raises the question: What went wrong? Why wasn’t “pipit” good enough?

Of course, this is just speculation, but we can make a good guess by looking at the broader context in which it could have been released. “Pipit” would have been announced at Google I/O 2022, alongside the canceled Pixel tablet with the first generation Tensor (codenamed “tangor”; the device that ended up shipping was “tangorpro”). And Pixel 6a. This would also have made it one of the first devices to run Google’s big-screen-optimized version of Android – the 12L. It really couldn’t have been a better fit, so why wouldn’t it?

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The launch of the Pixel 6 series was a mess. A big part of that was the buggy Android 12 release. While Android 12L fixed some things, it was nowhere near stable. Not only that, but a lot of features were also delayed, making 12 liters less than it was supposed to be.

Would you have bought “pipit” if it had been released?

60 votes

It is likely that Google decided to postpone the launch of both the tablet and the foldable device until next year to ensure the readiness of the software and modify the hardware when necessary. What ended up shipping was by no means perfect, but it was probably better than what we would have seen if Google had gone ahead with the “pipit.”

Until it was cancelled, the “pipit” was kind of a success: Our sources tell us that a lot of Google employees used the prototype units as their everyday devices, and the first-generation Pixel Fold certainly built on the hardware and software created for the canceled prototype. Hopefully the upcoming Pixel 9 Pro Fold will continue this generational improvement.

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