The cancelled Pixel Fold from 2020 just showed up in the wild and it looks like a foldable Pixel 6

The cancelled Pixel Fold from 2020 just showed up in the wild and it looks like a foldable Pixel 6
Image credit — Android Authority

The Google Pixel Fold was not Google's first attempt at creating a foldable phone. In fact, Google had a prototype ready a year before the Pixel Fold was released, but it was scrapped because it wasn't considered good enough.

However, newly surfaced photos from the wild have revealed the design and specs of this canceled Pixel foldable, codenamed "pipit." The design of "pipit" is strikingly similar to the released Pixel Fold, featuring the same unusual aspect ratio, frame, hinge, and matte back glass. The main difference lies in the camera bar, with "pipit" sporting a seamless glass bar resembling the Pixel 6, while the Pixel Fold has a smaller metal camera island similar to the Pixel 7 Pro.

This "pipit" prototype found its way to a marketplace, where someone was intending to sell it. The potential buyer found it strange and took to the internet to find out what it was, where it ended up being identified. Now, here we are with pictures (albeit, low quality ones) of what could have been years ago. 

Alleged "Pipit" Pixel Fold prototype | Image credit — Android Authority

The specs on the prototype revealed that the device was to rock the first-generation Tensor with Exynos Modem 5123 with a Sony IMX363 camera (introduced on Pixel 3), downgraded sensors, and no telephoto lens. The outer display was to be slightly smaller than Pixel Fold (66 x 128mm vs. 67 x 130mm) with a 1,080 x 2,100 pixel resolution. However, the inner display was unchanged from what we see on the Pixel Fold now.

Why Was "Pipit" Canceled?

While the exact reason for "pipit's" cancellation remains unclear, the timing of its potential release provides some clues. If released, "pipit" would have launched alongside the Pixel 6a and a canceled Pixel Tablet at Google I/O 2022. This would have made it one of the first devices to run Android 12L, Google's large-screen optimized version of Android.

However, the launch of the Pixel 6 series and Android 12 was plagued with bugs. While Android 12L fixed some issues, it was still not stable, and many features were postponed. It is likely that Google decided to delay the tablet and foldable to ensure software stability and make necessary hardware tweaks.

Legacy of "Pipit"

Although canceled, "pipit" was not a complete failure. Many Google employees reportedly used prototype units as their daily devices, and the first-gen Pixel Fold clearly built upon the hardware and software developed for "pipit."

Seeing the Pixel 6 camera visor on a foldable triggered my memories of longing for that form factor back then and has heightened my excitement for what the upcoming Pixel Fold 2 will bring to the table. Thankfully, we won't have to wait too long, as August is just around the corner.

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