In interviews leading up to this week’s Google I/O event, the head of Google’s Pixel division faced questions about foldable devices. Talking to CNET, Mario Quieroz acknowledged “We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time.” Google’s announcement last fall that Android would natively support foldable phones should’ve shown that it’s at least considering the technology, however the question of when, or if, it should offer a product is hard to answer.
Talking to Business Insider, the exec said that the technology will be important, but Google doesn’t have anything to announce right now. For Samsung, jumping out of the gate with its Galaxy Fold has a number of potential benefits, since if the segment becomes popular it can license the underlying hardware technology to others. For Google, it makes more sense to wait and see if anyone can actually build a working device before investing heavily in something it’s not sure people will want at the current price. That’s why it’s unveiling the midrange Pixel 3a this week instead of a $2,000 device that might not last an entire week.