Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
Huawei was allegedly Google's first pick for Pixel, not HTC
There’s no doubt that Huawei can create some high quality devices. After all, the Nexus 6P is a very well-regarded handset throughout the Android community, and the company has seen success in markets all over the world. But not in the US.
Now a source that’s allegedly close to the situation has revealed that Huawei was actually the first on Google’s list to build the Pixel, not HTC, but the company declined involvement in light of past drama between the two organizations. What exactly went down?
Again, all of this is according to an unnamed source and should be taken with a grain of salt, but the narrative seems to hold water.
Apparently, Google and Huawei had very big plans for the Nexus 6P. Upon release, the device was only available from the Google Store and from Huawei’s website with minor fanfare, only rolling out to other sellers later on. However, this wasn’t the original plan. Indeed, according to the source, not only was a multi-hundred million dollar ad campaign originally devised, but the handset was also slated to be sold by all four major US carriers.
You might have noticed that no major US carriers sell the Nexus 6P. That’s because negotiations between Google and the carriers broke down, and that massive ad campaign? Yeah, it failed to materialize as well.
This created a sore spot for Huawei, a company who has been struggling to increase their visibility in the US market. Their branding on the Nexus 6P, if aggressively advertised and made available through carriers – especially Verizon – could have been more than a foot in the door. It could have positioned Huawei to be a significant and well-regarded brand in the US.
all of this is according to an unnamed source and should be taken with a grain of salt, but the narrative seems to hold water.
So when Google approached Huawei to work on the Pixel, the Chinese smartphone maker was understandably hesitant. But then Google dropped the last straw: no Huawei branding would appear on the device. They would only be manufacturing it, and they would receive no public credit for the work.
Since Huawei’s main interest at the moment is increasing brand recognition stateside, and since their past negotiations with Google fared so poorly, Huawei elected to pass on the project. It seems HTC was Google’s “plan B.”
It’s not clear yet what the public response to the Pixel will be, nor how widespread knowledge of HTC’s involvement will be among the public at large. However, this could potentially been a missed opportunity on the part of Huawei.
The company may have to change their strategy. So far the only sub brand that’s gaining any sort of traction in the US market is the Honor line, but the same source leaking this internal drama has also stated that almost all of the Honor US team has been let go shortly after the launch of the Honor 8. If this is the case, we haven’t seen reports of it anywhere else, so once again: grain of salt.
However, relationships between Google and Huawei don’t appear to be wholly soured. Indeed, the source says that Huawei is currently being courted by the search giant to produce a device for the second half of 2017. All we know is that it’s supposed to be a mid-ranger. Given that Huawei only appears to be interested in such projects if their branding gets visibility, it seems that this would indicate that the device is not a Pixel.
What are your thoughts regarding Huawei allegedly passing on the Pixel project? Did they make the right move? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!