This is how Google designed the Pixel Fold’s hinge to maintain an ultra-thin design

google pixel fold.jpg
google pixel fold.jpg

The Google team shared more details after the design of its first folding mobile.

This time they focused on an aspect of the design that is not only indispensable for its functionality, but was also key to maintaining an “ultra-slim” Pixel Fold. We tell you the details.

This is how Google managed to make the Pixel Fold ultra-thin

We continue to learn details after the latest releases from Google. We already saw that there was a second folding mobile in development, but that the Google team discarded it because “it was not good enough.”

We also share some interesting facts about the design of the Pixel 7A, Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet. And now we focus on a curious detail that the Google team has shared after the design of an important part of the Pixel Fold.

Although it goes unnoticed, if it had not been included, we would not be talking about a “folding” mobile. Yes, the sturdy little hinge that mounts to the device.

While it seems like an obvious choice, a lot of work went into the design of the hinge to not only do its job, but also maintain the ultra-slim design of the phone.

As George Hwang, Product Manager at Pixel, mentions, they had to use a different dynamic to integrate the hinge without affecting the thickness of the device.

On other foldable devices, the hinge components are below the screen, increasing the thickness. […] So with our hinge, we moved these components to the ends of the device, away from the screen, which makes it much thinner.

This dynamic allowed the mobile to maintain its design, since when it is opened it remains flat.

Books, passports and papers… the inspiration to design the hinge of the Pixel Fold

However, that was not the only goal, as the hinge also had to be resistant to wear and tear, yet flexible, so that it feels natural to open the phone.

To achieve this result, the Google team spent a lot of time trying to get inspiration from hinges of all kinds, as well as objects that repeated that pattern such as papers, books, passports…

We wanted to recreate the way you can hold and close a book with one hand, and we wanted to replicate how both sides blend seamlessly together when closed.
The Pixel Fold’s stainless steel hinge is flexible enough that it doesn’t require too much force to open it, yet strong enough to maintain a clamshell position.

Of course, they did not achieve this result the first time, since as Hwang defines, it was the most complex product they have worked on.

So they ran through lots of prototypes, different systems, and user tests to get closer to the end result: a custom 180-degree hinge, using high-strength steel and fluid friction.