Why Google’s Foldable Could Be More Exciting Than Samsung’s

A chance for a breath of fresh air

Key Takeaways

  • Google reportedly is working on its own foldable smartphones.
  • While foldable smartphones aren’t new, a Google-made foldable could hold more implications, compared to those designed by other manufacturers.
  • A foldable Google-made smartphone could give Google the chance it has been waiting for to bring Chrome OS and Android OS together better.
Someone holding a foldable phone against a yellow background.

Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

Reports that Google is dabbling in the foldable world have started popping up, and the possibility of a Google-made folding phone has me excited about the opportunities it could bring for Android and Chrome OS to finally work together.

Google already announced that it would be bringing its first proper Google-made smartphones to the market with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Both smartphones will include a Google-made system-on-a-chip (SOC), instead of using those from Qualcomm and other SOC creators.

Now, though, reports that Google is working on not one, but two foldables have begun to appear, and it could mark an exciting time for Android fans who also love what Google is doing with Chrome OS.

While the prospect of a Google-made foldable is probably enough for some fans of the company’s stock Android experience, the reason I’m so excited for its possibility goes beyond simply offering a good foundation for Android.

Instead, I’m intrigued by the possibility of a Google foldable smartphone because it could finally give the company a way to blend Chrome OS and Android OS a bit more effectively, akin to how Apple’s smartphones work with MacBooks and iPads.

Building Bridges

Chrome and Android OS have worked together quite well for at least a little bit now, with new features like the Phone Hub helping bridge that gap even more. Despite the strides that Google has made, the two operating systems still don't mesh as well as Apple's various operating systems do. And, in fact, Chrome OS and Android OS still look and act quite differently.

However, Google could lean more into a Chrome OS-style look and feel for things with a foldable. This would allow the company to test just how well things might work together if it adopts a style that works across multiple types of devices. All around, it could make for a more seamless experience between Android OS and Chrome OS in the future.

It's a big if. The company has done nothing to point towards the possibility of adopting Apple's "make everything vastly similar" stance. Even then, MacOS is still quite different from the operating system found on Apple's smartphone and tablet offerings.

However, Mac doesn't rely on the iPhone's App Store quite as much as Chrome OS does on the Play Store. So, if Google can pull its two operating systems together, it could bode well for the future of both Chrome and Android OS.

Taking Chances

Even if Google doesn’t take this chance to blend the two operating systems together a bit more, it is a chance for Google to think outside the box. It hasn’t created any foldables before, and its history in the smartphone world always has been fairly simple. With a new foldable, though, it could try something that other companies might not have the chance—or money—to try.

This is, of course, a bit of blind hope, but it is something that I am holding out for as we wait for more details about Google’s possible foldable phones to start surfacing.

Someone holding an Android foldable phone.

Onur Binay / Unsplash

So far the reports are fairly simple, with some speculating that the names of the devices—currently known as Passport and Jumbojack—could be clues towards their overall designs. However, there’s still a lot that we don’t know about these possible devices.

While the foldable market is slowly becoming more and more mainstream, it’s not quite there yet. That means Google doesn’t have to worry too much about keeping up with the competition. Instead, it can breathe and have a little fun with the process, if it so chooses.

We could just end up with a bunch of phones that look exactly like the foldables we already have on the market.

While that would be extremely disappointing given the opportunity that Google has—especially with so much excitement building around the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reveals—I’m sure that plenty of Google fans (myself included) would still be happy to see a foldable phone that offers Google’s streamlined Android experience without all the fluff that Samsung has become known for.

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