It is quite special, the new Pixel Fold from Google. The hinge is in focus.
The highly anticipated release of the Pixel Fold by Google has sparked considerable excitement among tech enthusiasts. While the device may have some shortcomings compared to other foldable phones on the market, Google’s engineers have placed great emphasis on designing a hinge that sets it apart. In a recent post, the Google team shed light on the importance of the hinge in creating the thinnest foldable phone available.
Designing the Thinnest Foldable: The Role of the Hinge
George Hwang, one of the Pixel Product Managers, delved deep into the development phase, experimenting with numerous paper folds to perfect the shape and form of the Pixel Fold. The end result is a device that stands out as the thinnest of its kind, both when unfolded and when folded. Central to this achievement is the meticulously crafted hinge.
Reimagining the Book-Like Experience
Google’s approach to the hinge design sets it apart from other manufacturers. Rather than positioning the hinge partially under the display, which can add significant thickness to the device, the Pixel Fold’s hinge elements have been cleverly relocated out of the display’s way. This innovative decision allows for a remarkably slim form factor. The hinge itself is made of stainless steel, providing the necessary flexibility while also offering the strength required to hold the device in a clamshell (half-open) position.
Capturing the Satisfying Clap
Apart from the practical considerations of thickness and flexibility, the closing experience of a foldable phone is vital to its overall design. Google’s engineers recognized this and ensured that the Pixel Fold’s folding action would create a sense of satisfaction for users. Each time the device is closed, a distinctive sound, reminiscent of a satisfying clap, accompanies the action. This attention to detail not only enhances the user experience but also adds an element of delight to everyday interactions with the phone.
Durability as a Top Priority
Throughout the development process, Google was committed to creating a hinge that could withstand the test of time. Extensive user testing was conducted to ensure the hinge’s durability and reliability. This meticulous approach to quality control contributed to the early leaks and appearances of the device in Google source codes, as the company took every measure to perfect the hinge mechanism.
Taking Inspiration from Passport Books
In their quest for an optimal hinge design, Google’s engineers drew inspiration from passport books. These compact yet functional objects provided valuable insights into how a hinge should operate in a foldable device. By carefully studying the mechanics and durability of passport book hinges, the team was able to refine their own design and create a superior folding experience for Pixel Fold users.
While the Pixel Fold may have certain limitations compared to its foldable counterparts, Google’s dedication to creating a superior hinge sets it apart in the realm of foldable phones. The design team’s commitment to thinness, user satisfaction, and durability resulted in a device that stands out as the thinnest of its kind. By skillfully relocating the hinge elements, Google achieved a sleek form factor, while the use of stainless steel ensured both flexibility and strength. The satisfying sound produced during the folding process adds an extra touch of delight to the user experience. Inspired by passport book hinges, the engineers meticulously refined the design to create a hinge that will endure the test of time. With the Pixel Fold, Google has not only entered the foldable phone market but has also made a noteworthy contribution to its evolution by prioritizing innovation and thoughtful design.