There’s sure to be a Google device or two on anyone’s list of upcoming phones worth getting excited about. For us, it’s the Pixel Fold 2 – the expected successor to the firm’s first attempt at a foldable smartphone.
The next generation Pixel Fold is surely still a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from creaking into action. As well as hinting what to expect when it finally arrives, we’ve also looked back at our Pixel Fold review and picked out the areas we hope Google will improve on for the sequel. Here’s everything expected from the Pixel Fold 2.
Google Pixel Fold 2 expected release date
There’s only been one Pixel Fold generation so far, which isn’t enough to spot patterns when it comes to announcements, release dates or pricing. And with Google not saying anything official just yet, we’re in the dark as to when a Pixel Fold 2 will arrive.
The Pixel Fold was officially revealed at Google’s I/O dev conference in May 2023, and went on sale a month later. Next year’s I/O conference will almost certainly take place in May, so there’s a chance we’ll see the Fold 2 there – but equally Google traditionally focuses on software at I/O, so may choose to bump its hardware reveals to another time.
Android Authority reported that the Pixel Fold 2 would be skipping Tensor G3, the chipset found in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. That could suggest a two-year cycle before we’ll see a second-gen Google foldable – or a simultaneous launch with the Pixel 9 duo, which is widely expected for October 2024.
Pricing is also an unknown right now. The first Pixel Fold cost $1799/£1749 at launch, which made it a direct rival to the $1800/£1750 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. Book-style folding rivals from Honor, Oppo, Tecno and Huawei didn’t really shift the needle, so there was little need to lower the price.
That changed with the OnePlus Open/Oppo Find N3 duo, which is now Stuff’s favourite foldable at a more wallet-friendly $1699/£1599. We’re hoping it will encourage firms like Google to bring the price down in order to compete.
Google Pixel Fold 2 hardware & design rumours
The closest thing we have to anything official is reference to a device codenamed “Comet” within the Google Pixel Buds companion app, as spotted by 9to5Google. Google has used dog breeds for its most recent Pixel phone codenames: Husky, Shiba and Akita. The Pixel 9 generation will apparently be named after reptiles, too. That would suggest Comet is a standalone model, most likely a foldable.
Android Authority scored the biggest scoop so far, showing what it claims to be a prototype handset with major changes over the first-gen Pixel Fold. It has a narrower cover screen, making it a closer size match for the OnePlus Open, and dramatically rounded corners. The frame is reportedly made from aluminium.
Inside, the folding main screen is apparently squarer than before, with a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. That’s a big change from the first-gen Fold, which stealthed its webcam in the outer bezel. At the back, the camera shelf has been ditched for a smaller square island, with what appears to be four lenses along with a flash and microphone. It’s unclear if the fourth sensor is actually a temperature laser like the Pixel 8 Pro, or a time-of-flight sensor for laser autofocus.
The leak is apparently an Engineering Validation Test (EVT) device, which means there’s still plenty of time for Google to change design and hardware elements before launch.
Display specialist Ross Young previously indicated the Pixel Fold would get a larger screen, but there’s no info yet on whether he means the 5.8in cover screen or the 7.6in internal display.
Other hardware rumours? It was originally expected to launch with a Tensor G3 chipset, twelve months after the first Pixel Fold, but now word is Google is testing the newer Tensor G4 instead. That suggests it will launch alongside the Pixel 9, rather than on its own cycle. Could Google swap to Snapdragon power, now Qualcomm has made some big AI advances? That seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened in the tech world.
Camera upgrades seem very likely, as Google usually makes photography one of the key reasons to buy any Pixel device. The Pixel 8 Pro’s trio of rear lenses take fantastic snaps, but whether there’s room for them inside a foldable remains to be seen; the original Pixel Fold used a different set of sensors to the Pixel 7 Pro, reportedly due to packaging issues.
Other upgrades, such as a larger capacity battery, will likely boil down to how much larger Google makes the Pixel Fold 2’s screens; there’s only so much room inside the device, after all.
Design-wise, we’re expecting the rear glass to borrow the frosted finish seen on the Pixel 8 Pro to keep fingerprints at bay. Slimmer dimensions will surely be on the cards, too; the Pixel Fold is now looking a little portly compared to some newer rivals.
Google Pixel Fold 2 feature wish list
As much as we liked the Pixel Fold, it fell short of top marks in our review. The four-star phone has room for improvement, then – something that Google will want to address for the sequel, at a time the foldable competition has never been tougher. Here’s what we think a Pixel Fold 2 could change to be better than its predecessor:
More balanced battery life
One of our biggest criticisms of the Pixel Fold was its mediocre battery life. An update to Android 14 did help it last a little longer between top-ups, but it still fell far short of folding rivals. The 4800mAh battery seemed plenty big enough, so the blame may be down to the Tensor G2 processor. The new Tensor G3 seen in the Pixel 8 Pro is more efficient, which bodes well for the sequel, but we can’t help but see what Qualcomm is doing with its flagship Snapdragon silicon and wish Google would catch up. Faster charging would be a welcome addition, too; 30W feels pretty pedestrian when rivals are pushing north of 65W or more.
The Pixel Fold took a pretty tasty photo, but then the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro arrived and showed what the firm was really capable of. When a smartphone costs $1700, you expect the very best, and that just wasn’t the case here. Given the Fold came out months before the Pixel 8 Pro, and we expect that pattern to repeat next year, it will be difficult to address that balance. We seriously doubt the Fold 2’s launch would get pushed back to coincide with the next-gen Pixel 9. But it would still be nice to think you’re not compromising on cameras by buying a foldable over the more mainstream model.
When the Pixel Fold launched, only Samsung had done more in terms of optimising Android for larger screens. Google’s take on the app launcher and multi-window was pretty slick, and it put real effort into updating its apps with two-column layouts. Only being able to open two apps at once with a vertical split felt limiting, when Samsung has been offering more apps, in different orientations, and floating window support for a while now. The OnePlus Open does fantastic things with two smaller windows and one larger one using gesture navigation, too. Anything Google can do to catch up on this front would be much appreciated.
The Google Pixel 8 series went big on neural processing and machine learning. On-device AI generated wallpapers were just the start, with automatic voice recorder transcription, Best Take face replacements and Magic Audio Eraser background sound removal also included. We’d love to see the Pixel Fold 2 follow suit, and perhaps debut a few more features of its own. These could even roll out to the Pixel 8 series afterwards, so owners didn’t feel left out.
First-gen Pixel Fold owners missed out on Circle to Search, which was added to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro in January 2024. For a $1799/£1749 device to suddenly be a second class citizen was rather frustrating, so we’re hoping Google can avoid that divide for the sequel.