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Google will reportedly announce a foldable Pixel phone at I/O next month

The Pixel Fold may ship in June for $1,700.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Google may be close to launching its long-rumored foldable Pixel phone. CNBC claims to have seen internal communications revealing that the Pixel Fold will be announced at the I/O conference on May 10th, and ship in June. The device will reportedly cost around $1,700, or close to the $1,800 Samsung asks for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

The company may tout a few advantages over its rival. The Pixel Fold will have a book-like design with a 5.8-inch external screen and 7.6-inch folding display, but will supposedly have the "most durable hinge" of any foldable, according to Google. It should also be water-resistant and pack a larger battery that lasts up to 24 hours in normal use, and 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver.

Don't expect performance gains. The Pixel Fold will apparently use the same Tensor G2 chip as in the Pixel 7 series, and previous leaks suggest it might have cameras that predate the Pixel 6. As with other Pixels, the draw may be the 'pure' Android experience — this will be the first opportunity to see Google's own approach to foldable devices.

The price is still steep compared to regular Pixel phones, which top out at $899 for the Pixel 7 Pro. Google may sweeten the deal by encouraging trade-ins, however. The company may even offer a free Pixel Watch to Fold buyers.

If the details are accurate, the foldable Pixel may not be an easy sell. Google is expected to debut the Pixel 8 this fall, and that's likely to include upgrades like a third-generation Tensor chip. With that in mind, North Americans have had few options for foldable phones beyond the Galaxy Z Fold series and previous-gen Moto Razr models. The Pixel Fold may stand out simply by providing real competition in a small category.