Rumors around the Google Pixel Fold – a foldable phone with Google branding – have been swirling for several years at this point, but a new development makes us think that a launch might now be imminent.
As spotted by Android Police, the latest 8.6 update to the Google Camera app includes a hidden icon that looks very much like a foldable phone. Hardly conclusive evidence then, but nevertheless a sign that Google is getting its own apps ready for such a device.
While the button doesn't really do much at the moment, it's possible that it enables the user to switch between the various cameras on the Pixel Fold. If it follows the lead of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, there will be three separate camera modules.
If you've never picked up a foldable phone – which is quite likely – then you might not have realized that there are rear and selfie cameras, just like normal, but also a selfie camera on the internal, fold-out screen as well.
When the phone is open, you've got a selfie camera on the large screen, and effectively two rear cameras around the back. When the phone folds shut, the secondary display comes into play, and one of the rear cameras becomes a forward-facing one.
That all needs to be accounted for in the software. Samsung has already tweaked its own camera app accordingly, and it looks as though Google could be next in line – keep an eye out for further adjustments like this in the months ahead.
Analysis: the clues keep on coming
We're not sure exactly when the Google Pixel Fold rumors started coming – possibly around the same time that the first foldable phones started showing up on the market – but they've definitely been around for a long time at this point.
We've been fooled before into thinking that a foldable phone from Google was about to be launched, but this time around it feels as though there's some genuine momentum behind the idea that an actual product is going to turn up sooner rather than later.
Some people have pointed to the launch of the Google Pixel 7 phones in October as a time when we might see the Pixel Fold appear: that's according to a well-placed industry analyst, so there is some weight behind the claims.
There have also been recent adjustments to Gboard, the default software keyboard that Google makes for Android, making it easier to use on foldable screens. As with the update to the Camera app, it's hardly proof, but it's certainly suggestive.