- Google’s Pixel Fold hinge is inspired by a passport.
- Hinge: 180-degree fluid friction, placed at device ends.
- The hinge is made of robust stainless steel, adding slight weight.
Unfolding the mystery behind the construction of Google’s Pixel Fold phone, it’s fascinating to discover that the blueprint for its pivotal component – the hinge – came from a rather unexpected source – a passport.
In a recent blog post, Google took its audience on a journey through the crafting process of the Pixel Fold’s hinge. Interestingly, Sangsoo Park, an Industrial Designer at Google, shared how a simple passport held the key to their design conundrum.
Initially, the team dabbled with various hinge types, studying them thoroughly. They observed everything, from the functional hinges found in car doors to the binding in books and paper. However, the perfect design dawned upon Park when he was returning from a holiday trip – the passport.
Park admired the passport’s neat size, both when opened and closed. He saw it as a metaphorical representation; just like a passport carrying personal stories and memories and being a starting point for many journeys, the phone would serve a similar purpose. Moreover, it’s compact enough to be carried anywhere, just like the Pixel Fold.
Throwing light on the technical side, Pixel Product Manager George Hwang highlighted that the hinge is a versatile 180-degree fluid friction hinge, ingeniously placed at the ends of the device rather than underneath the screen. Hwang admitted that relocating the hinge components to create a slimmer profile was quite a challenge, labeling it as “the toughest product” he had ever been part of.
As for the hinge’s constitution, the team chose robust stainless steel over lighter aluminum. The preference for steel was attributed to its superior strength and eye-catching gloss. This choice, however, also added a bit of extra weight to the Pixel Fold, making it slightly heavier than its market rivals.