The Pixel Fold feels like something Google canceled (or hopefully just delayed) at the very last moment, as just over the course of this year we received so many, many rumors about it, including what specs it might pack, how it might look… It felt like it was just around the corner. And then in the middle of last month, Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants and reputable leakster said that Google has canceled its orders for parts for the Pixel Fold. This was a confirmation that even if the Pixel Fold wasn’t technically canceled, it definitely wasn’t going to be making its entrance into the young but competitive folding phone market this year.
We’re approaching the conclusion of 2021, and it’s been quite a year. Any year after 2020 has to be better, but 2021 was actually quite good, at least in terms of what happened in the smartphone industry. And, before we get to all of the great, unique cellphones we saw this year, let’s take a look back at the ones we expected to see but didn’t, starting with the most recent folding phone to go unnoticed. The coolest phones from 2021 that didn’t make it! (As well as the ones who didn’t.) LetsGoDigital and Waqar Khan provided concept renders for the Pixel Fold.
Another Pixel Fold concept render, this time featuring a design akin to the Pixel 6 – RIP: 2021’s coolest phones that didn’t make it! (And the ones that did). Another Pixel Fold concept render, this time featuring a design akin to the Pixel 6. Supposedly Google didn’t think the Pixel Fold had enough to offer, in order to reasonably compete with Samsung’s folding phone champion – the Galaxy Z Fold 3. While the Pixel Fold was rumored to sport a 120Hz 7.7-inch folding display and be powered by Google’s own new Tensor chip, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is indeed a highly refined product at this point, hard to compete with, especially now, considering its S Pen stylus support and the huge number of Samsung software features it packs.
But hey, foldable phones aren’t everything we expected in 2021 in terms of cool new designs. Rollable phones didn’t make it at all this year. And one of those was also seemingly just about ready for release. If there’s one majorly sad thing that happened this year in the world of smartphones, it’s that LG quit making them. Just a few months after it released one of the most unique phones we’ve ever seen – the dual-screen T-shaped LG Wing, at the end of May, 2021, LG Electronics ended smartphone production forever.
For example – Samsung DeX, which is a desktop interface for when the phone is connected to an external monitor, something akin to Windows. Google doesn’t currently have a competing feature to offer on its own theoretical folding phone. Google’s Pixel Fold would likely not have offered stylus support either, so indeed – that’s a hard sell next to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But still, another foldable phone on the market would’ve been good for consumers, as the more there are – the more competitive their prices can get. Because as we all know foldables are still quite pricey.
And we’ll get to that in a bit, but first, let’s talk about the LG Rollable itself, as well as rollable phones in general. Back in 2020 I personally believed that 2021 will be the year of the rollable phones because of how many, many patents from various phone makers came out, proving that they were working on such phones. So it’s pretty unfortunate that we actually didn’t see a single one come out, not even the LG Rollable itself, which was so close. And we indeed have many reasons to believe that the LG Rollable was pretty far in production before it was cancelled. In January LG teased the LG Rollable in a 10 second clip (shown above), and later in April a photo of a production version of the LG Rollable appeared online. The phone was also proven to have received an NFC certification, plus a Bluetooth 5.2 certification.
It was to feature a seemingly normal form factor, but with a twist – its flexible screen would roll out, turning the LG Rollable into something akin to a tablet when needed. When the user was done with their tablet needs, they could again make the screen roll back into the chassis, making the phone pocketable again. It was a cool concept that would’ve rivaled foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and maybe even ushered a rollable trend for other manufacturers to follow too this year. But alas, as mentioned, somewhere near the release of the LG Rollable, the company behind it decided to quit the phone market. And although this is pretty unfortunate for LG fans, who voted the LG V60 ThinQ as their favorite LG phone, LG as a company is still doing just fine. Despite it’s now out of the consumer phone business, LG continues to be a highly valuable producer of various smartphone parts like cameras and displays, for other manufacturers.