Google will soon unveil its new Pixel smartphones this week, and the devices are reportedly by HTC. Now, a new report has surfaced claiming that the upcoming Pixel smartphones were supposed to be built by Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer that produced Google’s Nexus 6P last year.
Huawei was apparently in negotiations with Google to build the Pixel and Pixel XL, but the Chinese company declined because Google “demanded” that Huawei’s logos should not be present on the smartphones, a source told Android Police. Huawei has been having trouble penetrating the United States market and perhaps the company believed that the absence of its logos on the Pixel smartphones won’t bring much benefit.
Although it looks like the issue here is pretty straightforward, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. The drama began in 2015 when Huawei partnered with Google for the Nexus 6P. Huawei agreed to make the Nexus 6P under the condition that it will be sold by all four major U.S. carriers including Verizon.
In the end, the Nexus 6P was never made available on any major U.S. network and was sold almost exclusively from the Google Store and through Huawei’s website. The handset was later made available to other retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and B&H.
Sometime after the release of the Nexus 6P (and Nexus 5X by LG), Google approached Huawei for its 2016 smartphones. The original plan consisted of making three phones and not just two and that Huawei would simply be the manufacturer, while the handset will solely carry the Google brand. Android Police’s source claims that Huawei’s global CEO Richard Yu ended negotiations with Google immediately after learning the conditions of the partnership. Google ended up partnering with HTC, the tech company’s “plan B” partner.
Despite all that, the source claims that Huawei’s relationship with Google remains strong. The two are already rumored to be working on a tablet, and Huawei is even working on making sure that its Kirin processor would be compatible for Google’s Daydream VR.
Another interesting rumor is that Huawei might be making another phone with Google which will be released in the second half of 2017, according to the source. The smartphone is said to be a mid-range device, and it may not carry the Pixel brand.
Huawei continues to struggle in the U.S. market as the brand isn’t as widely recognized in the country like it is in Asia. The only device that’s made any significant impact in the U.S. is the highly-affordable Honor 5X, while the MateBook is considered a flop and the GX8 isn’t selling at all, according to Engadget.