Google Pixel foldable with Pixel 5-style cameras coming subsequent yr

Enlarge / Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 (the big one) and the Flip 3 (the small one). Given the realities of the supply chain and Google’s relationship with Samsung, Google’s foldable products are likely to look quite similar.

Samsung

Will the Google Pixel Foldable ever exist? We’ve seen lots of rumors and Android source code indicating that Google is going in this direction, as well as the announcement of a foldable version of Android. Well, a new one 9to5Google Report says a foldable pixel with a very popular camera sensor will hit the market in 2022.

Apparently the latest Google Camera app has a device detection flag called “isPixel2022Foldable”. Believe it or not, the Google Camera app is a decent indicator of release dates, having previously outed the Pixels 4 and 3a with flags like “isPixel2019MidRange” and “isPixel2019”.

The software side of the Pixel Foldable plan is definitely underway. Google recently announced Android 12L, a mid-cycle update to Android that focuses on features for tablets and foldable devices. The development of the Android team process promises that new Android software and hardware will be developed together (which is why there have always been Nexus or Pixel devices). With a large foldables publication, it makes sense that a pixel foldable is in the works. Android 12L will be out in March 2022, so this is likely the earliest foldable pixel release.

With Google recently holding back the introduction of Android 12 to adapt to the Pixel 6, you have to wonder if we will see a simultaneous introduction of foldable hardware and software. Google phones usually leak around five months before release, so if the March schedule is correct and we’re on the normal schedule, we should get more information soon. However, due to the global shortage of chips, it is difficult to describe a future hardware start as “normal”.

Previous rumors indicated that Google was working on it two devices, codenamed “Passport” and “Jumbojack”, but the camera app references a new foldable device codenamed “Pipit”. No matter what internal iterations Google applies, it’s hard to imagine a range of devices that don’t closely match the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3. Both of Google’s designs are expected to use Samsung’s foldable displays, which only come in so many form factors. Google’s goal of making hardware so that Android can evolve means that it doesn’t want to fundamentally differentiate anything from the competition anyway. The devices will most likely look like Samsung phones, just as the Pixel 6 is a cousin of the Galaxy S21, which has Samsung displays, chips and modems.

Of course, the leak of the Google camera app also contains some camera information: The Pixel foldables will not get the new camera hardware from Google in the Pixel 6. “Including the tried and tested Sony IMX363 sensor. Together with the earlier” IMX362 “revision, this was the main pixel sensor of the Pixels 2, 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 5 and 5a. Allegedly there should be two rear cameras (like the Pixel 5), a front camera and an inside camera, which also goes well with the design of Samsung’s foldables.

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Enlarge / The Galaxy S21 Ultra (left) has better and more cameras than the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (right). Foldable devices cannot afford these huge camera bumps.

Samsung

Camera downgrades are common in the world of foldable devices, with those devices geared more towards media and productivity than photography. Samsung’s Galaxy Z-fold 3 has inferior cameras than the flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra; The Fold 3 has a row of three similar 12 MP cameras on the rear instead of the S21 Ultra’s row of four rear cameras, including a 108 MP main camera and a periscope telephoto lens. The camera downgrade has to do with the device thickness.

While we typically reject calls for wafer-thin phones – longer battery life is often worth a thicker device – thickness does matter with foldable devices. Folding these devices in half will double their normal body thickness. So while the Pixel 6’s 12mm thickness (including the camera bar) is fine, stacking two Pixel 6s in a foldable package would put a 24mm thick brick in your pocket, which is definitely too bulky. Since cameras are the bulkiest component of a phone (hence the camera bump), shortening the cameras is an easy way to get a thinner device. To get back to the Samsung example, the S21 Ultra is 8.9mm thick, with a 2mm camera hump on top, while each half of the Fold 3 is 6.9mm thick.

Opinion: AB 5-Type Protections Wanted for True Unbiased Contractors as Gig Work Grows

The artist Roman de Salvo is building an “electric picnic” in the Timken Museum in 2019. Courtesy of the museum

Independent contractors are excluded from traditional employment benefits such as unemployment insurance, minimum wage standards, employee compensation, and protection from discrimination and harassment.

The lack of protection is particularly acute among art workers in California, where 35% are self-employed. This lack of protection includes business owners, sole traders, independent contractors, and gig workers. If independent workers had access to additional social security programs, worker protection and other employer-provided safeguards during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people with unemployment would have had a safety net and our economy could recover faster.

As the economy’s reliance on gig workers grows, California has sought to protect them by making sure they are not mistakenly excluded from the benefits and protections they should receive.

In 2019, California legislation was passed Bill 5 Eliminate the misclassification of independent contractors who should be employees. Misclassification denies the individual the protection and benefits in the workplace. A subsequent invoice, FROM 2257, clarified who should be treated as salaried employees and exempted some jobs and business relationships from AB 5, including creative professions such as visual artists.

While unemployment insurance benefits were temporarily extended to independent contractors under the CARES Act, the legislation has not since extended worker protection or solutions for real independent contractors who do not meet the definition of a “worker”. With so many workers grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that we need robust safety nets that include independent contractors, gig workers and freelancers.

In a recently published report entitled “Art worker in California, “Researchers from the Urban Institute examine how independent workers can be included in benefits and safeguards provided by more traditional employer relationships. The study examines the need to protect workers by describing the experiences of art workers, a group that is three times more likely to be freelance.

Art work is usually project-based, short-term, intermittent and involves overlapping and simultaneous “gigs” at the same time. As a result, artists also face challenges shared by other independent workers who cannot plan ahead due to unpredictable incomes, limited savings, difficulty paying off student loan debts and providing health care, families and retirement.

When laws were put in place to protect workers, lawmakers had no idea how resilient the freelance workforce would be. Gig work is clearly here to stay, but the social security support and legal protections available to independent workers have not caught up with the changing workforce.

Current law assumes that freelancers are empowered to negotiate their contracts and the resources to provide their own safety net. The report focuses on a specific segment of this workforce – the arts – to analyze these assumptions and identify why accessible benefits and protections matter for artists and those investing in a more inclusive arts field. If we can do this right for artists, we can do it right for the many other gig workers who share their terms.

The Urban Institute report suggests solutions, including tightening classification laws to prevent employees from being misclassified as independent contractors – as intended by AB 5 – to extend worker protection and social security programs to freelance workers and other contractors and the collective action and efforts to scale nontraditional workers to rebalance power.

New forms of collectivization for workers are needed to gain access to affordable benefits and safeguards, gain bargaining power, provide health care and protect workers from discrimination and harassment. Either of these avenues would improve the conditions not only for art workers but also for the millions of Americans who earn a living from independent work.

Also, by providing access to labor protection and benefits for all types of workers, companies can comply with labor laws and share costs more evenly among recruiters, taxpayers, art consumers and workers themselves.

California has pioneered worker protection policies in the past, and this is the time to think beyond traditional boundaries to make our economy more resilient. This is the time for California to consider innovative new ways to extend protection and benefits to workers whose jobs never fit the traditional employer model.

Angie Kim is President and CEO of Center for Cultural Innovation. Amanda Briggs is a research fellow at the Urban Institute. You wrote this column for CalMatters, a public-interest journalism company dedicated to explaining how the California State Capitol works and why it matters.

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