Huawei reportedly turned down chance to make Pixel phones

Google's Pixel smartphones, which were the subject of several big leaks over the weekend, will be unveiled at tomorrow's event. Even though the devices will bear the branding of El Goog, it is HTC that has been commissioned with the manufacture. This represents a shift in partnership from last year's Nexus 5X and 6P, the spiritual predecessors to the Pixel duo made by LG and Huawei respectively. Apparently, though, Huawei could have been involved in the production of the Pixel and Pixel XL, but passed up on the opportunity which HTC subsequently seized.

There's no question that the 6P was and is one of the greatest smartphones released under the seemingly outgoing Nexus umbrella. Indeed, it's still arguably one of the best handsets on the market, period. With that recent success having spawned from Huawei's partnership with Google, many have pondered why Google didn't invite the company back for a second innings. According to a source of Android Police, Huawei was first on the list, but talks broke down and HTC got the nod. 

Though the Nexus 6P is considered a success, this new report suggests it was originally planned as bigger deal than what eventually transpired. Google apparently sold the idea to Huawei that the device would be available on all four major U.S. carriers, which would have helped the Chinese firm achieve its goal of getting its name on the map throughout the United States. 

Having a flagship handset available through the majority of phone-selling U.S. outlets would have been a major boon for Huawei in its efforts to crack America. According to the source, the two firms planned a joint, "multi-hundred-million dollar" ad campaign for the Nexus 6P as part of a higher-profile launch than previous Nexus generations. Somewhere along the line, however, the script changed. The Nexus 6P was locked down as a Google Store exclusive for much of its early life, and while Huawei was allowed to sell handsets through its website, it was not the concerted, Google-aided U.S. launch that Huawei had perhaps envisioned. 

When talks of this year's Pixel models came around, Google apparently told Huawei that it wanted three devices for 2016 (though we're expecting just the two HTC-made Pixels). The deal on the table was said to have stipulated that the devices would be Google-branded, with Huawei's name nowhere to be seen. This didn't align with Huawei's ambitions and supposedly, CEO Richard Yu personally ended the conversation there and then. 

As it turns out, the Pixel phones might actually have helped Huawei realize its dream of establishing a top-end handset through Verizon, with Big Red said to be atop Huawei's carrier wish list. Sure, with no clear branding, the devices wouldn't have helped consumers to familiarize themselves with Huawei. If nothing else, though, they would probably have strengthened company ties with Verizon and its rival network operators. 

Despite the breakdown of talks, it's believed that the Google-Huawei bond is not damaged. There's certainly scope for a future collaboration and indeed, there have been rumors that a Huawei-made 'Nexus' tablet could soon be forthcoming. Given how much we've seen of the Pixel devices lately, the comparative lack of recent info regarding said mysterious slab probably means we won't see it tomorrow. 


Of course, the fact that Huawei could have been behind the Pixels has us wondering how the two (or even three) devices might otherwise have turned out. It's unknown how much input HTC has had on the design of the Pixel duo versus Google, but they certainly borrow aesthetic qualities from several of the Taiwanese firm's other handsets. With Huawei at the helm, one can only imagine how the Pixel and Pixel XL -- and perhaps the noted third device -- may have looked. 

As Google Pixel day begins tomorrow, Huawei's Mate 9 is perhaps the most exciting of the firm's to-be-announced devices. The phablet is touted as beast in the specs department and with a purported 5.9-inch display, Kirin 960 SoC and up to 6 GB RAM, there's cause to be excited. 

Still, Nexus 6P fans will surely be lamenting the fact that Huawei perhaps could have, but chose not to produce the Pixel and Pixel XL. 

Do you think the Pixel devices would have benefited from Huawei's development, or are you happy with what's been seen thus far of HTC's efforts? Be sure to have your say in the comments section below. 


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49 Comments

1. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Interesting. It does make you wonder how these phones would have looked. One more day to go.

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They would have looked pretty much to same I bet, Google is largely behind the design and changing which company manufactured said devices shouldn't really have changed Google's planned design decisions.

7. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

The more I think about it, I am leaning to what you have said here. The general wouldn't have any idea who made the phone anyway.

11. Feanor

Posts: 1421; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Totally wrong; if Google were behind the design of the hardware of the Nexus line, they would have at least some family identity, which they never had. Also the Huawei 6P is clearly a Huawei design as the Nexus 6 screamed Motorola etc.

20. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yeah well Google says different my friend and the 6P doesn't look like any other Huawei device before it so idk how it's clearly a Huawei design lol. Google has a general idea of what they want so even if the company making said device has input it isn't a lot, not enough to make a huge difference anyway. The nexus 6 does look like a Moto device abet a little different, my guess is Google wanted it to because none of the other Nexus phones share design aspects from the company that made them. As for the family identity part, they wouldn't have a reason to do that because a different company makes the devices each year so they don't need similarities, if Google had been manufacturing the phones themselves then you would probably be right.

23. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Its literally in the second sentence.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Nexus It's wiki so believe it or not.

17. maherk

Posts: 7029; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Then why did the Nexus 6 look like the Moto X, or the 6p looked like the Huawei family? Nexus's designs usually are influenced by the company that are producing them.

21. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The 6P does not look like the Huawei family....I don't see it. Post #20

39. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

51. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They made that phone after the 6p.

27. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

The Nexus 6 looked like the Moto X because the Moto X design came about while Google owned Moto. The Nexus 4/5/6/5x/6p look nothing like the designs made by other manufacturers. Even the Galaxy Nexus didn't look like Samsung phones before then. There are certain design cues that make it in obviously that are similar to the primary manufacturer of the Nexus handset, so it is somewhat like half half. This Pixel design looks a lot like the HTC A9 series with a hint of Google in there.

38. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

LG optimus G and nexus 4 are almost identical in design beside the nexus is more round but otherwise its like the same phone. So they do keep part of the dna of the OEM. Nexus 4 clearly had LG optimus G DNA. Nexus 5 was like a mix of lg optimus g and google dna. Nexus 6 was a moto X nothing more nothing less. Nexus 6P look like huawei design language and they even have a lower end model branded huawei with identical design ( cant find the name but its was shown on a news on PA ) Nexux 5X now thats one i cant find any lg device with similar look. So thats its..

37. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Nexus 6P is nearly 90% designed by huawei. Same thing with nexus 4 back in the day its was nearly 90% copy of the lg optimus G phone. Same with Galaxy nexus its was having Samsung DNA all over it. Sorry but you are wrong.

19. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

I am still mixed on the looks. Can't wait to see them in action.

30. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Regardless of how they looked, the quality of build was in HTC's corner and not Huawei's. I'm glad HTC is doing it instead.

35. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

Same here. Glad they returned to HTC and put out an attractive phone and slimmed the bezels down this time. That huge strip on the 6p was ridiculous and that thing had huge bezels.

40. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

HTC phone usually are Tanks. HTC 10 is probably the most resilient non rugged device on the market. Droped my HTC one m7 from second story building with a crappy gelcase and its had no damage. HTC really good for the quality of build.

49. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Lord no. I can't down vote this enough. I never ever exchange more devices than HTC devices ever. Pixel C came close but I eventually got a perfect one. HTC? Never got a perfect one.

50. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Hope for a HTC come back. I just wish they release a screen with 5.2" and 6.0" respective. A lot of chinese branded smartphone has borderless design this year with screen ratio around 80%

2. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Dammit! Why?! I would have been happy and at ease with anyone but HTC. I am now worried about a Nexus 9 level flop. Honestly though, I would go Samsung first and if they said no I would go Xiaomi, then Huawei, then Sony, then LG, then Meizu, and HTC would be dead last. That's my thoughts on the pecking order. Technically they shouldn't use anyone at all. The Pixel C didn't so in that sense, this isn't a true Google phone at all. It's just like any other Nexus or an HTC phone.

5. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

HTC is a great smartphone maker, they have really only had one flop and that was the M9, the Nexus 9 was a beast of a tablet that didn't sell well or have the best design but that was all Google's fault since they were behind the design and marketing of all nexus devices and that also goes for the upcoming pixel phones.

12. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Oh, I have tons of issues with a lot of their devices actually.

22. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

So you're just a hater lol.

29. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Not a hater since I would have no issues with them if they weren't manufactured like crap.

42. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Had the HTC Desire HD , HTC one M7 , M8 and M9 and i loved them all all rock solid phone with super smooth UI. Only thing i did not like on M7 to M9 was the camera.

41. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Omnitech stop the Hate HTC quality control and quality of build is way superior to about all the OEM you said..

47. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Like I said to Arch Fiend, if their products didn't have glaring build issues, I would be a fan of them. Unfortunately, I don't trust them in the least and all the companies I mentioned have been far superior. At least in my experience.

4. meanestgenius

Posts: 22520; Member since: May 28, 2014

I understand why Huawei turned down making them. The Pixel phones look to be a hit, and Huawei wanted to be better associated with that via branding. When that wasn't going to happen, they bowed out. Totally understandable, IMO.

8. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Google has defintely marketed them better than any other Nexus phone. I understand Huawei's thinking as well. Can't blame them.

10. meanestgenius

Posts: 22520; Member since: May 28, 2014

Exactly. With the Pixel phones looking to be a hit, and had Huawei built and had their branding on the phones, it could have given Huawei a great boost in mindshare in the U.S.

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