The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are “made by Google”… or at least that is what the Search Giant is trying to advertise. Though HTC is the ODM (original design manufacturer), Google is adamant on the argument that this as a work done by themselves. But with all the mystery surrounding this case, it is still unclear just how involved HTC was in the making of these devices.
Recent evidence seems to show HTC and Google worked more closely in the development of the phone than we previously believed. And what is more surprising is that it seems the Taiwanese phone maker was an important part of developing the software, something Google is usually all about doing.
A commit from an HTC Engineer shows the removal of a said “htc_cerberus” from all the code. In addition, Android security researcher Jon Sawyer got to look at the bootchain and found plenty of HTC code in there.
“It’s a standard HTC bootchain with some hardening/changes.” -Jon Sawyer
What is the point of all these changes, then? On a marketing perspective, it is believed having a true Google phone would help the Mountain View-based company compete with the likes of Apple and Microsoft, which have their own operating systems, as well as devices. The Nexus program worked well, but attaching another manufacturer to the brand probably didn’t make things as “official”.
While Google has contracted HTC to assemble the Pixel phones, Osterloh says the approach is no different than Apple’s partnership with iPhone builder Foxconn. Flip the Pixel over and you’ll see “Made by Google,” another tip of the hat to Apple, which has long made much of the fact that its phones are “Designed by Apple in California.” Osterloh says Google will never say the Pixel is co-engineered with anyone else. He proudly proclaims, “It’s ours.” – Rick Osterloh, chief of Google’s hardware vision, speaking to Bloomberg
The idea here is that the Pixel phones (just like the Chromebook and Pixel C) are supposed to be mostly designed, elaborated and coded by Google. Instead we are finding there may not be much of a separation here. Some believe the new phones may essentially be Nexus devices without the manufacturer branding – a marketing move, as opposed to an actual business change.
But will the strategy work? Can Google (with the help of HTC, of course) really take on iPhones on its own? That is something we will have to wait and see. What do you think?