Following a leak in August that revealed Google was planning to release its first folding Pixel phone in late 2021, Korean industry site TheElec is now reporting that Samsung will begin production of folding OLED panels in October for Google, Vivo, and Xiaomi’s upcoming folding phones.
Google hasn’t kept its folding phone plans a secret; in 2019, it filed patent applications for its own folding screens and acknowledged prototyping them for a long time, telling CNET that it didn’t have “a clear use case yet.”
However, it appears that Google is close to announcing a foldable, codenamed “Passport.” 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last month, Google discovered a new reference to it in Android 12’s code, alongside other codenames rumored to be the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a 5G.
According to TheElec, the phone will have a single 7.6-inch panel that folds inward, whereas Vivo’s next phone will feature an 8-inch main display and a 6.5-inch outer display. The screen size of the upcoming Xiaomi phone was not mentioned.
It’s unclear whether a Pixel Fold would come with a display created by Google, though it’s feasible; Samsung serves as a contract manufacturer for a variety of companies, including Apple, which uses Samsung to produce some of its domestic chips. In any case, ETNews reports that Samsung will give other smartphone manufacturers its unique ultra-thin cover glass (which is technically created by German firm Schott), and Google is anticipated to adopt it.
Xiaomi already has a folding phone, the Mi Mix Fold, which was introduced earlier this year, but it appears that it will have a second one. Oppo’s new foldable phone, featuring a 7.1-inch main screen and a smaller outside screen between 1.5 and 2 inches diagonally, will be delayed until 2022, according to TheElec.