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Google competes with Samsung in foldable market

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Google's latest Pixel Fold phone displayed during the Google I/O developers conference on Wednesday in California [GETTY IMAGES/YONHAP]
Google’s latest Pixel Fold phone displayed during the Google I/O developers conference on Wednesday in California [GETTY IMAGES/YONHAP]

Google released its first foldable smartphone, Pixel Fold, during its annual I/O developer conference on Wednesday.

The latest release put the tech giant in direct competition with Samsung Electronics, which currently holds global dominance in the foldable market with its Galaxy Z series.

Samsung Electronics has been rolling out foldable smartphones under its Galaxy Z brand since 2019. The smartphone manufacturer claimed 82 percent of the total foldable shipment in the world last year, according to TrendForce.

Google’s Pixel Fold folds sideways with a vertical hinge, like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 model was released in August last year.

Google markets its foldable smartphone to have “a thinner profile than any other foldable phone in the market.” It is 12.1 millimeters thick when folded, compared to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4’s thickness of 15.8 millimeters on the hinge side and 14.2 millimeters on the opposite side.

The cover display of the Pixel Fold comes in at 146.7 mm, and the main display at 192.3 mm. It weighs 283 grams, 20 grams heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4.

The 256-gigabyte model’s price tag starts at $1,799, which is $0.99 cheaper than Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Pre-orders for the Pixel Fold opened Wednesday. Google will begin shipping starting in June, and the model will be available in four countries: the United States, Britain, Japan and Germany.

Samsung has been rolling out smartphones starting in 2009, while Google mainly focused on the software business.

Google has recently been expanding its presence in the hardware market with its Pixel Fold as the latest addition to its line-up. The company released Pixel Watch, a wearable device, and the Pixel 7 smartphone last year.

Google also launched Bard, its artificial intelligence chatbot service, available in 180 countries starting Wednesday during the I/O 2023 conference. Bard is also available in Korean.

BY SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]

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