Pixel Fold: Google alludes to Pipit prototype during in-house interview
Googlers Ivy Ross, Isabelle Olsson and Claude Zellweger have offered insights into the company's route to releasing the Pixel Fold, its first foldable. Not only do the trio discuss the philosophy behind Pixel smartphones, but they also reveal that Google had prototyped earlier foldable smartphones before settling on the current Pixel Fold. While there had been rumours that Google had developed early foldable models, no one at the company had previously gone on record to confirm as much.
According to the trio, the Pixel team had developed a foldable smartphone before. However, it decided against bringing the device to market because the device it failed to meet the standards of other Pixel smartphones. Instead, Google wanted to wait until it could offer a foldable that would improve upon the devices that are already available. Reputedly, Google had codenamed the device 'Pipit', which the Pixel team was developing during Android 12L's gestation.
For reference, reports emerged in September 2022 that Google had cancelled 'Pipit' in favour of 'Felix', the codename for the device that ended up as the Pixel Fold. However, various reports suggested that Google had prototyped an even earlier version of the Pixel Fold, which it developed under the codename 'Passport'. Google was said to have scheduled a Q4 2022 release for 'Passport', although few concrete details emerged before Google pivoted to 'Pipit'. As for retail Pixel Fold units, Google will start shipping these later this month.