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. 

Related phones

Pixel XL
  • Display 5.5 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP (Single camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3450 mAh
  • OS Android 10
  • Display 5.0 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP (Single camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2770 mAh
  • OS Android 10
Nexus 6P
  • Display 5.7 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP (Single camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 3GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB,
  • Battery 3450 mAh
  • OS Android 8.1 Oreo


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