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Hopefully Pixel Fold won’t be canceled – Samsung needs competition

News broke this week that Google was not going to release its talked about foldable phone and canceled the project – at least for now.

When I first read this news, I felt a clear lack of surprise. I felt like if Google were going to release this mythical Pixel Fold phone, the perfect timing would be alongside the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Even if it wasn’t ready for sale, a teaser or initial ad would be welcome.

But once that lack of surprise passed, my strongest feeling about the news was disappointment.

I’m a big fan of Google phones. I’ve used every Nexus and every Pixel phone so far, and while they all have their own quirks, they’re adorable and easy to use unlike many Android phones. They also have the best Android software with fast updates. The prospect of some of this going into folding was tempting.

The foldable phone space is currently dominated by Samsung, at least in the UK and the US, and Google’s decision not to launch its own competitor means there is even less competition for Samsung. In the end, it’s not the best.

Samsung’s line of foldable phones has improved immeasurably since their first announcement. The original Fold was terrible to say the least, and while the follow-up was much better, I still found it difficult to recommend. With the Z Fold 3 – and the cheaper Z Flip 3 – Samsung made a foldable phone that easily became one of the best phones in the world.

samsung galaxy z fold 3 half open
Galaxy Z Fold 3

However, competition in this foldable sector is so minimal that at the moment there is nothing really pushing Samsung to continue with these significant annual updates – in both hardware and software. We’ve already seen this with the basic iPad – when the competition is low, innovation can stop.

The only real competitor to Samsung’s foldable devices is the Moto Razr, and while the Razr is a sleek phone, it’s nowhere near as ambitious as the Fold or Flip. Hopefully Motorola continues to do this as with some tweaks it could be an alternative to the Z Flip 3.

Huawei has also released several foldable phones and the latest models. Mate x2 in the short time that I spent with him, seemed to me a well-made device. But due to ongoing problems with the US government and its inability to ship phones with Google services enabled, this will always be a tough recommendation.

To make these foldable phones better in both hardware and software, we need a variety of competing products to encourage everyone to do more. So far, this is not the case, and in the long run it could harm these foldable devices.

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