OPINION: New details about Google’s legendary Pixel Fold smartphone have appeared this week, and for once they have painted a beautiful picture of the future of convertible smartphones.
In particular, display analyst Ross Young took to Twitter to suggest that the highly anticipated Pixel Fold will have a smaller 5.8-inch front display and a wider aspect ratio, unfolded internal screen.
Even as a fan of technology, I will admit, the ratio of countries is usually not the most exciting specification of every phone. But on folding, it’s a huge deal.
To catch up with people, the aspect ratio is a measure of how long and wide the screen is. Although they vary from device to device, the most common aspect ratio of tablets and phones is usually 16: 9, although you will see other phones swing 18: 9, 19: 9 and 19.5: 9 and 20: 9 measurements. .
As I noted when reviewing the Galaxy Z Fold 3, one of the biggest problems with the device was that its primary front and secondary internal screens had strange, atypical ratios – the front screen has a very high and thin 25: 9 ratio, while the internal display of the tablet has a distinctly square 22.5: 18.
This was a huge pain, as it meant that most applications did not display properly on any of the screens, or looked stretched, or had massive black bars around them.
This made full use of the tablet screen particularly difficult, as streaming services such as Netflix and GeForce Now games did not take full advantage of the real estate on the additional second screen. All you had was a slightly larger video or game screen than most larger phones. You can see an example of why in the image below, which I took while testing the phone.
So a report that suggests that Pixel Fold will fix this and may include a secondary internal screen with a more common 16: 9 aspect ratio is very welcome news and means that the long-held dream of having a phone that can doubling up like the right tablet can be a step closer to becoming a reality.
Of course, this is far from official and there will be many more obstacles that the device will have to overcome to fully fulfill this promise. Excluding hardware, the biggest would be the device’s software. As noted in the review of the Xiaomi Pad 5 and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, Android in its current state is not very well optimized for larger screens.
This is because Google officially stopped improving software for Android tablets a few years ago, which has led most app developers to follow suit and design products only for phone-sized screens. That’s why most editing apps are optimized for basic touch inputs, rather than precise stylus controls or keyboard shortcuts, as in Apple’s iPad OS.
Even the UI of major apps looks a little weird on Android tablets, with things like Facebook, Instagram, and even Chrome looking like exploding mobile apps that haven’t been properly optimized for the big screen.
Google has promised to fix them with the release of Android 12L, a customized version of Android designed for tablets. Although this OS is currently in beta only, so until we get a chance to test the final version, we can’t reasonably comment on how successful it will be.
However, despite the other hurdles that Pixel Fold would have to overcome to win the crown as the first suitable convertible for phone / tablet, I can’t help but get a little excited about this, based on leaks this week.