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Code suggests Google’s folding Pixel will return to 12-megapixel camera next year

Code suggests Google’s folding Pixel will return to 12-megapixel camera next year


More details emerge about Google’s rumored foldable

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Google’s rumored foldable device could release next year with similar camera hardware to what older Pixel phones used prior to this year’s big Pixel 6 overhaul, 9to5Google reports. Reports about the device first emerged this summer, at which point it was expected to launch before the end of the year. Now the device, whose codename appears to have changed from “Passport” to “Pipit,” seems to be on track for a launch in 2022.

These latest details have emerged thanks to code discovered in the Google Camera app. In particular, they suggest that the foldable will use a 12.2-megapixel IMX363 sensor for its main camera. That suggests the foldable won’t be equipped with the same 50-megapixel Samsung GN1 camera sensor Google used on this year’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Instead, the IMX363 is the sensor Google used for the Pixel 3 through 5. Its lower resolution suggests the foldable might struggle to match the excellent camera quality of the Pixel 6 series.

Google switched to a 50-megapixel main sensor with the Pixel 6

Aside from the main sensor, the code snippets suggest the Pixel foldable’s other cameras will be more in line with the Pixel 6. There’s a 12-megapixel IMX386 that’s expected to handle ultrawide shots and two 8-megapixel IMX355 sensors for its selfie cameras. Two selfie cameras appear to be necessary to allow selfies to be taken while the foldable is both open and closed.

As 9to5Google notes, it’s not uncommon to see companies equip foldables with less powerful camera hardware than their flagships. The recent Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example, had a 12-megapixel sensor rather than the 108-megapixel sensor Samsung used in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But it might be a disappointment for anyone expecting Google’s rumored foldable to match the camera quality of its latest flagships.

A release date of next year makes sense for the foldable given what we know about Android 12L, the upcoming Android update that’s due to launch early next year and is designed to offer a range of improvements for devices with larger screens, including foldables. The update, which has previously been referred to as Android 12.1, also contains code suggesting Google might have a second foldable device in development under the codename “Jumbojack.” It’s unclear when, or even if, this second foldable may be released.