Last month, Display industry consultant Ross Young claimed that display panels for the third-generation iPhone S3 began production and predicts that the new iPhone will debut in April, reported MacRumors. Although Mark Gurman had made that prediction days earlier, many considering Young a good source for rumors.
One of Young's latest rumors point to Google delivering a foldable smartphone in Q4, with volume production starting in Q3. Other rumors suggest that Google is expected to release their first-gen foldable smartphone in the US$1,400 range. In comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 currently sells for between $1424 and $1900 (at Best Buy).
It's back! Looks like Google's foldable Pixel will start panel production in Q3'22 and launch in Q4'22.— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) February 14, 2022
Many experts expect Google's foldable phone to look like the Galaxy Z Fold. It will be an infolding phone with a 7- to 8-inch display and a cover display attached to the outside.
On the other hand, Patently Apple covered a foldable smartphone patent from Google back in April 2021 illustrating a different form factor than Samsung's as illustrated in their patent figures below. Only time will tell which form factor that Google has finally decided on.
Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi have released foldable phones, but they were mainly for domestic use in China. Google is likely to enter North America and Europe, so Google and Samsung are expected to compete directly in the global premium smartphone market.
Google’s smartphone market share is only 1 percent, but Google must have concluded that it is worthwhile to enter the foldable phone market, as it has just started.
Google is also expected to unveil its first smartwatch, Pixel Watch, in May. Samsung Electronics and Google jointly developed Ware OS3, a smart watch-only OS, for the Galaxy Watch 4 in 2021. Samsung even gave up its own OS Tizen, which had been used for eight years, for the development and installation of Wear OS3.
In 2021, 1.3 billion non-foldable smartphones were shipped according to IDC. In a secondary report, IDC reported last week that the Worldwide market for foldable phones will only reach 27.6 million units by 2025. So Google entering the market is perhaps a marketing move, but it's not going to put a dent in the market, especially against Apple.
While Apple has a string of patents covering possible future foldable iPhones, the company is unlikely to enter this segment until consumers show more interest in this category.
At present, all indicators point to Apple's next-big thing being a mixed reality headset that will help lay the groundwork for the coming metaverse mega market. In December, Bloomberg reported that the metaverse opportunity could be close to an $800 Billion market.