The Google Pixel Fold ships with stereo speakers that are located at the sides of the handset. However, it turned out these are no ordinary speakers found on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (review) based on the most recent discovery that points to these components supporting spatial audio.
Most high-end noise-cancelling headphones in the market today feature spatial audio with head tracking like Google's Pixel Buds Pro. The technology transforms the audio from compatible videos and music tracks into immersive sound. What's the output like? It is comparable to listening in a 3D or theater-like environment.
In the case of Google, they do seem to have enabled the feature on the loudspeakers of its first foldable Pixel smartphone (review), which is also their first Pixel device to do so. This discovery was uncovered by developer Mishaal Rahman and it was confirmed by an image shared by a different user.
In the photo, you can see a toggle in the Google Pixel Fold's settings to enable or disable spatial audio on the phone speakers. This option also resides in the same location as the toggle for spatial audio when using wired headphones.
On such a note, a user would not probably even notice that their Pixel Fold's speakers are capable of delivering immersive sound without diving deeper into this section. Regardless, it is safe to assume that there could be a difference when the option is enabled and while playing compatible content.
It does seem that this feature is limited to the Pixel Fold only for the moment and is unavailable on other smartphones from Google's stable. The wide form factor and position of the speakers on the Pixel Fold are the most likely reason this is possible and made available on the handset.
Would you consider spatial audio speakers as an essential function on smartphones? We'd like to hear your thoughts on this.