New York, Mountain View Google has introduced its first foldable smartphone. With the Pixel Fold, which the tech group presented at its I/O developer conference on Wednesday evening, the Mountain View group is targeting the competition from Samsung.
With other hardware innovations, Google is pushing past its tech competitor Apple. AI applications are built into almost all products.
The Pixel Fold has a 7.6-inch screen and folds to the size of a (slightly thick) smartphone. “It’s the thinnest phone we’ve ever built and the thinnest folding smartphone on the market,” said Osterloh. As a result, the Pixel Fold offers a display with about three times the area of a conventional smartphone when unfolded.
In contrast to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, the two halves of the screen fold together practically seamlessly. A small gap remains on the hinge of the Korean competitor’s device. “Thanks to new technologies, the hinge is more durable than all competitors,” promised Osterloh. Again and again, users of other folding phones had documented cracks and fractures at the folding point after long periods of use.
Google Pixel Fold: Five cameras and new features
The Pixel Fold has five cameras: three on the back, a 9.5-megapixel “selfie” camera on the back screen and an eight-megapixel camera on the main screen for video conferencing.
This arrangement of the displays allows a further field of application. During his product presentation, hardware boss Ostloh presented a solution for live translation. The Pixel Fold is held between two people. Users then see what the other person is saying on the screen on their side and in their language. The conversation would be more natural, promised Osterloh.
However, this function was not initially available. It is to be rolled out via an update of the Android 14 operating system in autumn.
The Handelsblatt was able to try out one of the new folding phones at the Google presentation in Mountain View. Switching between the different views worked without any problems. However, the display was sometimes difficult to read in the blazing Californian sun.
Google Pixel Fold: price similar to Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The new functions come at a price. The Pixel Fold initially costs 1899 euros in Germany. Google is orienting itself on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Observers justify the high price with the large screens of the device, which is usually the most expensive hardware component.
With the Google offer, Apple is practically the last leading smartphone manufacturer without a clamshell phone in the range. Osterloh announced that Fold buyers will receive a Pixel Watch wristwatch free of charge until the beginning of July.
Pixel Fold or Google Pixel tablet with user sharing
In addition to the clamshell phone, Google has introduced a new Pixel tablet. It costs 679 euros (with 128 GB memory) or 799 euros (with 256 GB memory). It has an eleven-inch screen and is optimized for running multiple apps at the same time.
A charging station including speakers is included in the price. The tablet sticks to it magnetically. In a first test by the Handelsblatt, switching between music playback on the tablet and the loudspeaker worked without any problems.
The ability to set up multiple users for the tablet was also positive. This makes it possible for several family members or colleagues to share a tablet. This feature has so far been missing from Apple’s iPad series.
Google emphasizes the tablet’s software and powerful processor. The group wants to position it as a control center for smart home applications, such as intelligent lighting, thermostats or video doorbells. It would be combined with the already introduced Google Home app.
Google Pixel 7a: price, processor and features
While the Pixel Fold covers the high-end market, Google is targeting more price-conscious buyers with the Pixel 7a smartphone, the “little brother” of the Pixel 7 Pro. It is available in Germany for 509 euros.
According to Google, the Pixel 7a has a powerful processor that should also make AI functions possible, including the Pixel call assistant, which can pre-filter callers and block out background noise in calls. The device also has some handy Google features that Apple’s significantly more expensive iPhones lack, including the ability to have received voice messages transcribed.
Google Pixel: Unwanted tracking warning
At its house conference, Google also announced that it would expand the tracking function, which users can use to find lost devices and at the same time counteract surveillance. Google’s own “Find My Device” network should be improved for this.
In the future, Google smartphones could recognize unknown Bluetooth devices in luggage. Users should then receive warnings about unknown trackers traveling with them.
This announcement follows Apple and Google’s move to begin an industry-wide initiative to warn users of unwanted tracking from Bluetooth devices. The feature is set to launch later this summer and will also work with Apple’s Air tag trackers. In addition, the Bluetooth trackers from Tile, Chipolo and Pebblebee should be supported.
More: Google wants to make up for Microsoft’s lead in AI
First publication: 05/11/2023, 08:55 a.m.