The Pixel Fold may not match the Pixel 6 camera, and that’s okay

We’ve been hearing rumors about a ‘Pixel Fold‘ for years now, but leaks have ramped up lately, suggesting Google may finally be ready to unveil it early next year. But if the latest leaks turn out to be true, the Pixel Fold may not be quite as premium a device as many were expecting — and might not be such a bad thing.

Last week, 9to5Google reported that the foldable Pixel may not be using the same giant camera sensor in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, instead opting for what appears to be the same old, small sensor in the budget Pixel 5a… as well as the Pixel 5, 4a 5G, Pixel 4 and Pixel 3. Google has sure gotten a lot of mileage out of that Sony IMX363 sensor.

I’ve been thinking about this leak a lot. At first glance, that’s a shame. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro showed that Google was finally getting serious about hardware. Google used one of the best camera sensors on the market, the massive Samsung GN1, for its primary camera, immediately catapulting its imaging hardware to match some of the best in the biz.

To go back to a tiny-by-2021-standards sensor seems like a misstep for a company that has spent the past several months building up its hardware cred, in no small part because of the Google Tensor processor.

But after my initial disappointment, I’ve come to realize this news might actually be pretty great. It points to one important possibility: a cheap folding phone. Relatively speaking, anyway.

Make the price right

Now, I obviously have no way of knowing for sure how much the foldable Pixel will cost, but if the Pixel 6 is anything to go by, I’d bet my bottom dollar that Google is aiming for very aggressive pricing.

At $599, the smaller Pixel 6 undercut other flagship competition by a substantial margin, likely shaking up the way phone makers will price their devices going forward. The Pixel 6’s hardware is in many ways comparable to the iPhone 13 and Galaxy S21’s, but Google’s phone comes in $200 cheaper than those phones did at launch.

Meanwhile, folding phones so far have been ludicrously expensive — especially the ones that unfold into tablet-sized devices. The Galaxy Fold 3, the most famous of these, costs $1,800. It’s the price alone that automatically eliminates these types of devices as an option for many people.

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