A Pixel Fold concept from Waqar Khan

A few weeks ago, Google surprised everyone by tweeting the first details of its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones without any prompting whatsoever. 

While that could just be Google being deliberately contrarian in the way it announces phones, there’s another possibility: the company is getting the key details of its Pixel 6 handsets out the way early, so it can devote more of its autumn showcase to something else.

And that something could just be a folding Pixel phone. 

Digging into the Android 12 beta code, modder cstark27 found references to a total of five different Google devices that use the same g5123b model, all with suitably secret-squirrel codenames: Oriole, Raven, Passport and Slider (the last one’s name can’t be confirmed right now, so pick something suitably mysterious in your head. I’m going for ‘Toaster’.)

Oriole and Raven are reportedly the names for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and Passport is reported to be a folding phone to take on the new bendy phones from Samsung.

While Slider and Toaster are mysteries, the fact that these phones use the same modem could be significant, as it suggests they might also use the same chipset – a chipset we know to be the brand new Tensor chip Google was bragging about in its Pixel 6 tweets. And that, in turn, means we might see the Pixel Fold debut this year.

To back this up a little, earlier in the year the Korean publication The Elec reported that four foldable phones would come out before the end of the year. Alongside foldables from Chinese companies Xiaomi, Honor and Vivo, the site claimed that Google has one too. It will, according to the site, have a 7.6-inch screen when unfolded – which is identical to the dimensions of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.  

That still leaves the mystery of what Slider and Toaster are, of course. They might be tablets to ensure the world isn’t all Pixeled out. We’ll just have to wait and see what Google has in mind… and whether the world will treat more foldables with anything other than apathy