Google Pixel Fold’s Impact on Foldable Phones: Everything We Should Know

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The release of the Google Pixel Fold has generated considerable buzz in the smartphone market. Although it may not be the best foldable phone currently available, it holds significant importance as Google’s first in-house foldable device. This launch presents an opportunity for Google to refine and enhance the Android experience for other foldable devices. With the Pixel Fold already showcasing improvements to optimize the foldable form factor, these software enhancements will likely trickle down to Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Google Pixel Fold’s Impact on Foldable Phones

Enhanced Taskbar for the Galaxy Z Fold 5

Android 12L introduced a taskbar specifically designed for foldable and large-screen devices, allowing users quick access to frequently used apps. The Pixel Fold further improved this feature with a dynamic taskbar, offering enhanced functionality. Users can launch frequently used applications, switch between apps seamlessly, and open two apps in split-screen mode. Moreover, the dynamic taskbar retains your customized folders on the home screen and provides a button to access the app drawer, where all installed apps are readily available.

Samsung’s implementation of the taskbar in One UI already supports these features, but it lacks the dynamic nature of the Pixel Fold taskbar. Samsung’s version remains persistent on the screen, occupying valuable display space until manually hidden. Additionally, it only displays a few recent apps alongside the pinned apps you select.

The Pixel Fold’s dynamic taskbar automatically disappears when unused and can be easily summoned with a swipe gesture. It also offers app suggestions based on usage habits, which are more practical than simply displaying recently-used apps. The  Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 could adopt these improvements, resulting in a better multitasking experience.

Access to Foldable-Optimized Apps

Despite Google’s ongoing efforts to encourage developers to optimize their apps for foldable and large-screen devices since the unveiling of Android 12L, many apps still struggle to scale effectively on larger displays or offer alternative layouts for foldable devices. Even some of Google’s apps were not initially optimized for foldable. However, with the advent of the Pixel Fold, most of Google’s popular apps have been updated to fully leverage the expansive inner screen of foldable devices, providing users with convenient two-column layouts.

Google has also urged third-party developers to optimize their apps for foldable and recently showcased a selection of apps that have been redesigned to offer a new two-column layout, app continuity, and responsive resizing of UI elements on foldable phones. As these changes apply universally to all foldable devices, Galaxy Z Fold 5 users will have access to apps that effectively utilize the large foldable display.

Anticipated Improvements with Android 14

Google is undoubtedly working on further improvements to the software experience for foldable devices with the upcoming Android 14. Beta builds of the update will likely be available on the Pixel Fold and other early devices, enabling developers and early adopters to provide valuable feedback to Google and enhance the foldable software experience before the stable rollout. As a result, when the Galaxy Z Fold 5 receives its One UI update based on Android 14, users can expect a more refined and polished experience compared to previous iterations.

Although it remains uncertain whether all the new features for foldable will be immediately available on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 upon the update’s release, they should eventually become accessible. Google’s commitment to ongoing improvements for foldable devices will undoubtedly benefit the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and future Samsung foldable through a trickle-down effect.

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The Positive Impact of the Pixel Fold

Similar to how the Pixel Tablet aims to enhance Android for large-screen devices, the Pixel Fold holds the potential to do the same for foldable displays. While Samsung’s foldable may be among the first to benefit from these software changes, other manufacturers can also expect improvements on foldable phones, such as the upcoming OnePlus V Fold.

However, the full extent of these enhancements will only be revealed at Galaxy Unpacked later this month, as Google may reserve some features exclusively for the Pixel Fold and future Pixel foldable devices to establish differentiation in the market. Regardless, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is poised to be one of the leading foldable phones of the year. If you are eager to get your hands on one, you can reserve it by following the link below and enjoying some enticing perks.


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