Google Pixel Fold shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

What’s in a name? We could find out very soon, as Google may be about to release a successor to the Google Pixel Fold, with the new foldable phone apparently debuting under a very different name.

You’d imagine a Pixel Fold follow-up would be called the Pixel Fold 2, but the rumor mill claims Google has a different idea in mind. The new foldable is tipped to launch alongside the Google Pixel 9 lineup, and with that launch seemingly nailed on for August, we could find out shortly whether the next Google foldable is the Pixel Fold 2 or the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, as many now think.

Whatever name this Pixel Fold follow-up sports, the new model should introduce a number of improvements. The first Pixel Fold was an impressive foldable, thanks to its wide front display, high-quality cameras and intuitive multitasking. And while flawed in places (thick bezels, some apps don’t go full-screen), Google’s first attempt to make a foldable still earned itself a place on our list of the best foldable phones.

But the pressure is on Google to push the envelope with the Pixel Fold 2/Pixel 9 Pro Fold, as it will face some tough competition from the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6 — which we’re expecting to see in July — and other foldables. The next foldable PIxel is tipped to feature a narrower and sleeker design with less of a camera bump, a much more powerful Tensor G4 chip (maybe) and other upgrades. Here’s everything we know about this phone so far.

Pixel 9 Pro Fold name change

First, let’s talk about the name. While the Pixel Fold 2 would seem like the logical moniker for a Pixel Fold successor, Google’s decision to make its foldable part of the regular Pixel flagship line apparently will spark a name change. 

Having launched the Pixel 8a in the spring, Google is now turning its attention to its flagship phones, and Android Authority predicts we’ll see four new phones under the Pixel 9 banner. Besides the standard Pixel 9, the Pixel 9 Pro will apparently come in multiple sizes. Alongside a smaller Pro phone, Google is apparently planning a Pixel 9 Pro XL. Meanwhile the Pixel Fold 2 would be integrated into the Pixel 9 lineup, picking up the Pixel 9 Pro Fold as a name.

When Google I/O came and went this past May without a new foldable — remember, the original Pixel Fold got a preview at Google I/O 2023 — this theory that the new version would be part of the Pixel 9 lineup took on more weight. We’re also convinced of  the name change thanks to reports that the new foldable may jump to the Tensor G4 chipset expected to debut with the Pixel 9 release.Going forward, then, we’re going to refer to this rumored update as the Pixel 9 Pro Fold.

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Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold release date speculation and price

Made by Google 2024 invite

(Image credit: Google)

Normally, flagship Pixel phones — whether they include the Fold or not — would arrive in October, as that’s when Google typically holds its launch events. This year, though, Google has thrown us a curve ball.

The company has announced a Made by Google hardware event for August 13. It’s almost certain that the Pixel 9 lineup will appear at that show. So if the Pixel 9 Pro Fold is part of that group of handsets, we’re going to see it in mid-August.

There’s no word on Pixel 9 Pro Fold pricing at this point, though that could change as we get closer to the August 13 reveal date. We don’t expect the updated foldable to cost less than the Pixel Fold’s $1,799 starting price, but given the current trend of smartphone price increases, we wouldn’t rule that out until we hear otherwise. The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is currently rumored to be getting a $100 price increase, for example.

Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold design and display

Google Pixel Fold showing apps scaling issue.

(Image credit: Future)

A design leak suggests that the Pixel 9 Pro Fold may look a little different to its predecessor. Rather than having a wider cover display — which we prefer to the narrow displays of phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 — Google may be slimming things down a bit.

Sources also claim that the interior display will adopt more of a square-ish aspect ratio, similar to that of the OnePlus Open. It’s possible that both of these changes could be in response to complaints that the Pixel Fold didn’t have enough optimized apps, leading to black bars on the larger interior display. Sources also told Android Authority that it would lead to an even slimmer design, which we hope means there’s a little less weight to carry around.

Leaked Pixel Fold 2 photo from Android Authority

(Image credit: Android Authority)

Leaked images have also shown a big change could be coming to the back of the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. Rather than the horizontal camera bar, which has been in use since the release of the Pixel 6, the 9 Pro Fold may have a smaller, fatter camera bump that lives in the top right corner. The image shows four lenses stacked together in pairs.

It doesn’t look great, so we’re hoping this is just a prototype design that either gets replaced, or is seriously slimmed down for the final Pixel 9 Pro Fold model.

A recent exclusive from SmartPrix has shown the first 360 render video for the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, as well as more specifics about its overall shape. According to the reports it looks like Google is aiming for the next Fold to be the thinnest foldable smartphone currently available in the North American market.

The Pixel 9 Pro Fold could also have larger displays than rival foldables, at 6.29 inches on the outside and 8.02 inches on the inside.

Colors are always an important part of a phone’s look, and it looks like the Pixel 9 Pro Fold may come in black and white once again. Sadly it may not see pink or green options like the other models.

Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold performance

Google Tensor at IO 2022

(Image credit: Google)

One of the advantages to including the Pixel Fold follow-up with the Pixel 9 lineup is that it can feature the same Tensor G4 chipset found in this year’s flagship Google phones. And that would mean improvements over a G3-equipped device. 

While Tensor chips are not known for their benchmarking prowess, there have been rumors that the G4 chip may be based on Samsung’s Exynos 2400 — the same chipset that powers the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus outside the United States. Exynos chips don’t beat the flagship Snapdragon chipsets employed by other Android flagships, but the new architecture could give the Pixel 9 Pro Fold a significant boost in computing power as well as additional AI features not found on last year’s G3-powered Pixel 8 series.

It’s also been suggested that the Pixel 9 Pro Fold could offer an increased 16GB of RAM, 4GB more than the original Fold. A storage upgrade to UFS 4.0 would offer faster read/write speeds and improved power efficiency.

Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold cameras

Google Pixel Fold shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Design leaks seem to show off a possible Pixel 9 Pro Fold with a fourth camera lens, though the quality isn’t particularly good. What we can see, however, is that there only seems to be a single lens with the distinct square-shape of a telephoto lens. So the odds of the Pixel 9 Pro Fold getting a second telephoto camera, akin to the Galaxy S24 Ultra, look pretty slim based on this image alone.

We don’t know what sort of changes the Pixel 9 Pro Fold will offer compared to the first Pixel Fold — which came with a 48MP main lens, a 10.8MP ultrawide and a 10.8MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom. A boost in resolution to the latter two would be welcome, as would other changes like a larger camera sensor or extended telephoto magnification.

No matter what happens,we can expect Google to go all in on AI camera enhancements — both in terms of producing better pictures from the get go, and offering more powerful editing tools after the shot has been taken.

Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold battery and charging

Google Pixel Fold shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

It’s unclear what sort of battery we can expect from the Pixel 9 Pro Fold right now. At the very least we’d expect something similar to the Pixel Fold’s 4,821 mAh battery, which lasted for 10 hours and 21 minutes in our battery testing. A endurance would be welcome, which come come through a more efficient chip if not a bigger battery pack.

We’d expect Qi wireless charging and a minimum of 30W wired charging to make a comeback as well — though it would be nice if the next Pixel Fold supported the new Qi2 wireless charging standard.

Google 9 Pro Fold outlook

Google Pixel Fold shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

There’s still a lot of unknowns about the Pixel Fold successor, not the least of which are its name and whether it’s now part of the Pixel 9 lineup. Given the earlier-than-usual Google hardware event, though, we expect answers soon — whether it’s from the event itself or more leaks in the weeks to come.

Google is going to have to do a lot if it wants to stay relevant in the foldable phone market. Samsung has a lot of experience building foldables, while OnePlus has leveraged its relationship with Oppo to make the OnePlus Open the best foldable phone you can buy. 

So whether Google opts for a fresh design, powerful AI features, improved hardware or a mixture of the above, the pressure is on. Let’s just hope the rumors we see over the coming weeks and months can keep us feeling optimistic about the Pixel 9 Pro Fold’s chances.

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Tom is the Tom’s Guide’s UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It’s long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.

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