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Report: HTC was 2nd Choice for Google’s Pixel Phones After Huawei Backed Out

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According to a source of Android Police, HTC was never supposed to be the manufacturer partner behind this year’s Google phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL. Instead, Google first chose Huawei, but as Google moved toward a partner brand-less phone line-up, plus there being a potentially lingering sour taste from a breakdown of promises or expectations with 2015’s Nexus 6P, HTC is who we got. 

The story goes something like this. Google’s plan A for building 2016 phones involved Huawei with hopes that they would build as many as three phones, not just the two that we will see tomorrow. But Huawei wasn’t exactly hip to the idea of their brand being no where on these new Google phones and dropped out when word of the brand-less approach got back to Huawei CEO Richard Yu.

When I say “brand-less,” I’m talking about these being Pixel phones “made by Google” and not the Nexus phones of old that always featured branding of a manufacturing partner. In the past, Google always teamed up with and promoted their Nexus partner, but it’s clear that Google wants to try a different approach for 2016 and possibly into the future. Google wants you to think that these – the Pixel phones – are their phones and their phones alone.

Huawei may also have been turned off after 2015 and their work on the Nexus 6P. According to this source, Google made quite the pitch to Huawei (and likely LG with the Nexus 5X) about the Nexus 6P, suggesting that they would get it on major US carriers, which would mean Huawei finally on the shelves of US carriers and in front of millions of US customers who don’t shop for unlocked phones on Amazon. That, of course, never happened because Google’s talks with carriers allegedly broke down. Shocker, I know. Rather than promote the 6P through carriers, Google and Huawei each sold it through their own online stores and the intended reach of the phone was never fully realized.

What’s interesting about this story is the fact that the source, who is in the Huawei camp, seemed to go out of their way to point out that Google may have failed to hold up their end of the bargain with the launch of the Nexus 6P, yet wasn’t ready to suggest that the relationship between the two was weak. They wouldn’t say that this is part of the reason that Huawei backed out of 2016 plans, but it sure seems to be implied as a part of the reason having been included in the conversation.

With that said, Huawei is still rumored to be working on a 7-inch “Nexus” tablet, while simultaneously having conversations with Samsung about smartwatch software instead of Google’s Android Wear platform. They might be getting their in-house-made Kirin processors ready for Google’s Daydream too, plus they may be in the conversation to produce a 2017 phone for the search giant. Who knows what’s going on with Huawei and Google.

And that brings us to HTC, who is for sure making the Pixel and Pixel XL, according to the FCC. Is it a big deal that HTC was the 2nd choice? Not at all. HTC makes perfectly good phones and probably needs the business. I’m sure the hardware of the Pixels will be solid and Nexus/Pixel fans won’t care who made them.

Via:  Android Police
  • gregb

    Good riddance. I have bent 2 6Ps. No, I don’t wear skinny jeans or store it in my back pocket. Also, the tolerances on the buttons and plastic panel on the back have been extremely different across the 3 devices I’ve had. Might be an unpopular opinion here, but Huawei’s build quality and QA sucks. I’ll gladly take HTC’s hardware with Google strongarming them over the devices requirements.

    • Daniel Thomas

      i’ve had three 6Ps (i guess i like to drop my phones), and wear skinny jeans and have had no issue with the build quality. You must have just got a dud, which sadly happens across all manufactures of phones.

      • LionStone

        Huh? You’ve had 3 from drops and you have no issue with the build!?

        • Daniel Thomas

          show me a glass phone screen without a case that can survive a 6 foot drop on to concrete. Has nothing to do with build quality. It has everything to do with my clumsiness.

          • LionStone

            3 times?

          • Daniel Thomas

            well two times. I am on the third. The first i dropped in on the sidewalk when it when my hands were frozen. The second one I dropped it when my kid knocked it out of my hand. I guess i don’t take extra care of the phone cause of the insurance i have.

          • LionStone

            Well just going by my past experiences with HTC devices and being one to not use cases, I’ve been very satisfied with the build quality of their devices. Certainly more than Huawei, who is relatively new to making phones but coming on strong. The 6p is decent but it just still doesn’t compare to an HTC since they’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve dropped my 10 a few times (not on concrete) and it barely has a scratch. I think the 10 and the Note 7 are the strongest phones out right now.

  • Avik Sarkar

    Sony and Google could have hardly made it together in this case.. wouldn’t have been a hassle-free partnership

  • droidbeat

    When the 2nd Choice is even better than the 1st. We all win.

  • Catherineamoore4

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj38d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !mj38d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash38MediaCloudGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj38d:….,……

  • Shadowstare

    This headline is soooo full of shade.

  • Jeremy B.

    But but we the consumers loved the fact of bypassing carrier phone sales….y would Huawei not be ok with that move? We still look on the backs of our phones and see the name of the maker..we know which way to send our love….do we not guys and girls?

  • Trevor

    Maybe Google will just buy HTC so they have people to make their phones for the rest of time.

    • Jeremy B.

      The only problem I see with htc made phones is higher price tag….Huawei phones were cheaper, and quality isn’t that bad in my opinion…my 6P is sturdy for what I use it for….not holding open doors or anything lol

      • Trevor

        I think the 6P is a really well-made phone; it certainly boosted my respect level for Huawei. I just feel like HTC is hurting, and I’d rather see them bought out and used for good rather than just close up shop forever.

  • Jason Salcedo

    personally i think HTC got the best build quality in the game why not join the best software company in the game to create a premium android device so i think huawei backing out was a blessing from god! THANK YOU HUAWEI!!!!

  • trevorsalienarms

    Display glass sitting on top of frame? (Kind of looks like the edge of the glass is exposed.) Or is it just the way it looks in the render? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76054cd80d85e722ab850cf98483cbf2bedf139bbe76bc6f5a926eab26deadec.jpg

  • paul_cus

    Huawei was like, Nah Google, we don’t do that white label anymore.

  • Brian Menius

    Second place is first loser, sloppy seconds, etc. I’m disappointed enough by my N9 that, with this newest detail coming to light, I have to laugh at the idea that HTC is a good premium partner. We’ll see when the phones arrive, but I suspect I won’t be moved to purchase, especially with Google’s ever-persistent desire to shrink their larger phone.

    • Meffaliss

      The HTC 10 this year is quite good. While I always hold some skepticism toward all companies, I have a better feeling about them this year compared to last year. Oh god last year wasn’t very good for them at all.

  • Anyone remember the Nexus 9???

  • TheDrunkenClam

    Droid-Life, you guys got any news on how the Pixels will be sold through Verizon?

    • person

      1. Walk around back, knock on the door 3 times and whisper the codename of the device you want.
      2. Walk three blocks south and check the nearby bushes. It’ll be there in a plastic bag.
      3. Place the money and a contract signing away your first born child in the bag and set it back in the bush (do not forget this step–they WILL find you).
      4. Enjoy your new device.

      • Erik O

        It’s like the speakeasy of phones.

      • TC Infantino

        You Sir, win the internet today.

    • droidbeat

      If it’s like the HTC 10, you could pre-order it through VZW online at a huge discount ($152 below the unlocked online price), after which it could go up to $50 below the unlocked online price. But, there could be benefits to unlocked, such as faster updates.

  • Me

    Kinda glad they went with htc tbh

    • sc0rch3d

      same thought when I read this piece. I think HTC is falling behind in market share (build quality still seems excellent on the flagships) and this is a win-win. Google gets the exact phone desired and HTC will be known as the company they partnered with. If this goes well AND G is “all-in” on owning the hardware stack, potential acquisition down the road?

      • Meffaliss

        That would be interesting to see but I doubt it would go well in the end.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    I have the HTC 10 and the 6P. The 10’s build quality is so much better than the 6P. It’s probably better that Huawei dropped out.

    • jbdan

      : thumbs up:

    • C-Law

      Negative. Nexus 9 shows how bad htc can be. I hate mine

      • Meffaliss

        It doesn’t matter who makes what, it can always be a stinker in the end.
        I have tried the Nexus 9 and it was definitely underwhelming. Though their phones, such as the M8 and the M9 were quite nice (especially the M8).
        I have the 10 right now and it’s definitely quite an improvement over their previous devices. We’re two in my family to have the 10 and we’re both satisfied with it.

  • Orion

    Damn! A story of what could have been. Smh

  • Shoulda never dropped Motorola

    • jimt

      An updated Nexus 6 could have been awesome. Nexus 6 is still awesome. I don’t want a fingerprint scanner.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Buy Sony.

        • or Lg. A Pixel “based” off the V20… yes please

          • ChrisI

            based off?

        • Suicide_Note

          Oh, goodness no! Sony isn’t worth the trouble, and their designs are crap.

          • ramuk

            Their designs are the best.

          • Suicide_Note

            Their phones all look necessarily identical. Featureless black slabs. It’s no wonder that their sales and profits are so abysmal.

          • Meffaliss

            I wouldn’t say featureless… unless you buy the U.S. version of their phone : D

          • Suicide_Note

            I was referring to the exterior design of the phone. I should have been more specific. 🙂

          • Meffaliss

            No harm done lol. I oddly love the “featureless” look of their phones, especially the Z3. It was simple, and pretty to me. Not in black though, but green, oh yes <3.

          • Suicide_Note

            I wouldn’t mind it if they didn’t seem to use the same design for every single phone they’ve made in the last three or four years. lol

      • Orion

        That’s what I’m talking about! But Google gives us this….

        • jimt

          Maybe next year. 🙁

      • Suicide_Note

        I’d have been ecstatic if Google made a revised 6P by shrinking the bezels, giving us a 6″ screen in the same sized phone, and updating the internals.

      • distortedloop

        Agreed they never should have dropped Moto. Droid Maxx, Droid Turbo, all the Moto X models some of my favorite phones I’ve owned. Nexus 6 still one of my three daily drivers. Only thing missing on the N6 and Moto X 2015 was fingerprint scanner. I didn’t think I’d want one on a phone, but it’s what has made the Nexus 6P my primary daily driver. To each his own, huh?

    • MicroNix

      Because if Google wants to compete with Apple, they can’t have a camera that can’t get out of its own way to take a picture. That’s why they should have dropped them.

      • Rich

        6p takes fine pictures. I’m sure the newer Nexus by Huawei would have been better than these HTC pos devices.

  • CabbageHeadCat.

    This guy could just be saving face as well. HTC, even though nowhere listed on the device has made some pretty great phones, some more desirable than Huawei. Plus Google probably got a much better deal with HTC. And HTC has inroads with the carriers.

  • Birtzer

    Am I the only one who doesn’t care for Chinese companies? HTC builds more solid devices anyway.

    • Adil Tajgeer

      Where do you think HTC is from?

      • Rashad

        Taiwan

        • Adil Tajgeer

          Which political views aside, is governed by China. At best it’s Chinese adjacent, but really it’s basically also a Chinese company.

          • Birtzer

            Isn’t it governed by the ROC vs the PRC?

          • Adil Tajgeer

            Yes, but both governments claim to represent China, neither of them are saying they are the government of Taiwan in the sense that it is a sovereign nation separate from China. It’s a muddy situation but Taiwan was given to China by Japan after ww2 iirc so technically it’s part of China regardless of which of the governments it truly belongs to.

      • Birtzer

        Taiwan. It’s close, but still not China.

    • jimt

      What foreign country would you prefer? Nothing is made in USA

      • Adil Tajgeer

        To be fair he does only say he dislikes Chinese companies, not Chinese manufacturers. So technically if Google went the Apple route and designed in the us and used a company like foxconn to build in China, it would be okay.

      • Birtzer

        Obviously all manufacturing is done in China anyway. I’m looking at where companies are headquartered.

        • jimt

          Where would be good headquarters located?

          • Birtzer

            I’m looking for diversification within control and manufacturing of the world’s goods. I’m not partial to any particular region or country, but China seems to be buying and controlling much of the world’s goods including several newly acquired US companies. Not anyone’s fault, but I like diversity. Also, Chinese companies have been known to load spyware onto devices it manufacturers.

          • jimt

            Are you expecting spyware in a Google flashed Nexus or Pixel phone? I would worry more from one that used a skin and modified the Android to work with the skin. When the software comes from Google I would be less worried about such things.

          • distortedloop

            Isn’t Chinese spyware embedded in the chipsets on some devices? Does flashing Google software over that protect you?

  • Bourne, Jason C.

    I was always curious when some stories on different sites (and maybe one on this site) that said that with the Pixel phones, Google wanted to show that Android was more than Samsung and Huawei. I get Samsung since they’re one of the main OEMs that people associate with Android but I never got the Huawei reference in the same sentence as Samsung but if this story is true then it would kinda add a frame of reference.

    • VAVAMk_2

      Huawei is the Samsung of China

  • illregal

    “story goes something like this” then fails to tell accurate portrayal of the story.. You’re all lucky to have a quality manufacturer on board this year. Instead of more bendable crap.

    • Suicide_Note

      My 6P has been flawless since launch. Unless you do something stupid like sit on it, or properly try to bend it, the 6P isn’t going to bend during normal use.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    I guess from what I understand is that when Google didn’t get the 6p on carriers, especially Verizon, was the breaking point for Huawei. Which I can understand since it sounds like Huawei are having a hard time breaking into the US market sales wise.

    • calculatorwatch

      I do think the 6P did a lot to help Huawei’s brand recognition here in the US. They have the right to blame Google a little bit for over promising and under delivering, but until they get their skin on par and launch a flagship here they shouldn’t expect their sales to anything impressive.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        True, I wouldn’t buy anything from Huawei with their skin out of the box.

      • nexodus09

        Isn’t that what google is known for?

    • The Melbu

      im really curious what people expect Google to be able to do to force Verizon to do anything they don’t want to do. To be perfectly honest i think its a small miracle the 6P worked on VZW at all

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Nothing Google can do, since they don’t have the hardware flex. People shouldn’t be surprised.

      • distortedloop

        Verizon is forbidden by the FTC to block certain LTE 700 MHz band phones from their network. We can thank Google for that.

      • droidbeat

        See if you can find a Verizon logo on the new Pixel phone.

  • droidbeat

    It’s like Hyundai wasn’t available, so you had to settle for BMW. 🙂

    • ChrisI

      /s ?

    • Andre

      Does HTC really deserve to be compared to BMW?

      • droidbeat

        You’re right. Mercedes then. 😉

        • illregal

          ew, mercedes is garbage.. HTC is like Koenigsegg.

      • Brian Menius

        Someone didn’t make the poor decision to purchase a Nexus 9.

        • Daistaar

          What’s poor about the Nexus 9? Best tablet I’ve used and I’ve got an Air Pro 9.7 and Surface Pro 4 (though that’s not really a tablet).

          • MentatYP

            Horrible multitasking (e.g. has to reload all tabs in Dolphin Browser after using another app for a while), gets warm doing simple things like browsing, janky in ways it has no reason to be, still can’t play XCOM because it uses an Nvidia chip. Worst tablet I’ve ever owned.

      • michael arazan

        Back in the day BMW was quality but they had a lot of flaws and guaranteed to be in the shop, and they used to suck handling on wet pavement

        • Jason B

          “they used to suck handling on wet pavement”
          Maybe for novices to RWD, who’d just spin out.

          That’s why all of our cars nowadays are loaded down with traction and stability controls. People can’t drive.

      • PoisonApple31

        No, it deserves to be compared to Saturn.

    • ScoobySnack

      HTC is more of a Ford. Sony is akin to BMW.

      LG = Chrysler. Toyota/Lexus = Samsung.

      Not sure where I’d put Apple though. I’m sure they want to be Ferrari!

      • illregal

        samsungs that shady mechanic who never completes the work, and tries to steal your car.

    • MReprogle

      BMW isn’t about to file bankruptcy in a month.

      • droidbeat

        Neither is the company building Google’s new flagship.

  • trixnkix637

    This is largely disappointing news because you know anything Huawei could’ve dreamt up would be better than what we’re getting from HTC

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      I’m on board with HTC but I’d have to agree with that. I keep dreaming of a 5 inch 6p

    • Patrick Hill

      I’m sure Google had a lot more say in the design this time around. They only used HTC to manufacture the devices like Apple uses Foxconn hence why there will be no HTC branding. But since they are being marketed as made by Google I would bet my life that Google had most of the control in the HW design unlike nexus devices where I’m sure the OEM contributed somewhat to the design

      • OligarchyAmbulance

        I don’t believe it. These phones started out as Nexus phones, and were changed to Pixels at the last minute. Look at all the “Nexus” leaks that we got before, and even the Pixel Launcher started out as the Nexus Launcher. The phones look so much like an HTC design, and not a Google design, it’s too much to be a coincidence.

        • Patrick Smithopolis

          It looks like the HTC 10 was the base model and Google made their own adjustments to the design.

          • Meffaliss

            I can definitely see that, actually! Previous Nexus phones were designed after other manufacturer phones.

    • illregal

      Judging by the 6p.. Which is garbage, you should be happy they backed out.

      • jimt

        OK I’ll ask, What is wrong with the 6P?

        • sonicyoof

          Your daughter must have big hands.

          • Duffman

            That’s not all she has that’s big 😉 lol

          • jimt

            She plays piano and has long fingers. I have a nexus 6 and was hoping for something bigger. My Nexus 6 will do just fine.

          • Andre

            Haha, this is the first time somebody said 6 and 6p are a bit too small. I have both and some of my coworkers make fun of me for having such a large phone (Which I don’t care about, cuz I think it’s the right size).

          • Meffaliss

            Long fingers are great for using tools and instruments. Or if you’re like me, a nightmare when using keyboards and drawing. Cramps

          • MReprogle

            If that’s the case, I must be a gorilla with my N6. #DicksOutForHarambe

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        6p is the best phone of 2015.

        • Duffman

          Meh. The screen isn’t bright enough, audio blows and battery life is decent.

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            The audio is great especially compared to 2015 phones. Which phone from last year has better audio? Battery life is a steady 4 hours SOT. I’d take more but that was above the industry average last year.

          • Duffman

            Dude, my M7 blows the 6P out of the water on the audio department. Including the FFS. And I get between 3-4 SOT, but closer to 3 than 4. And it’s nearly impossible to read the screen in direct sunlight.

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            The M7? Dude you’re out of context. We’re talking about 2015.

          • Duffman

            M7 is even older and has superior audio. If you want 2015, you’d have the V10, M9, A9 and probably a couple others. The audio on the 6P sucks, period.

          • distortedloop

            I wouldn’t say the 6P sucks, but the M7 was amazing. Such a beautiful device, and truly PREMIUM feeling, almost like a luxury item. Of all the dozens of Android phones I’ve owned, none of them got the attention of others as the M7.

            The only thing that really sucked in it was the camera. BAD decision on that hardware, but even the camera software had great features I still miss.

          • MReprogle

            God, that camera was trash. I do remember getting that phone and thinking that htc might take over as the top Android manufacturer, which is pretty insane in hindsight.

          • MReprogle

            No it doesn’t. N6 < m7 (though, it's close) < 6P < m8. I've owned all of these, many for years (was on the m7 for nearly 4 years), and comparing the audio is the first and most important thing to me on a phone.

          • Me

            HTC A9, M9, LG V10, X pure

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            A9? Nah not even. Though it can dance with the M9 and V10

          • MReprogle

            The audio is better than my N6, which I thought was decent. Neither have anything on my htc m8 though.

    • Birtzer

      Yeah, they sure are good at dreaming up skins.

    • michael arazan

      I never had faith in any Chinese phone/ electronics company, the 6P actually changed my mind about Huewei, but only them. And now I’ll be looking out for their products and take an interest

      • Meffaliss

        FiiO did the same for me with their X5 Gen II.

  • HollowLog

    Huawei is like the girl who wants to meet your family but you are just using her for sex.

    • Tr3ple

      Bravo my friend

    • Orlando Sablon III

      LoL

    • Latex beats nudity

      No idea why Sony wasn’t given a chance, I’d bet they would have made a spectacular device. Not these cheapstakes iPhone clones..

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Yea a great device without a Fingerprint scanner…

        • Birtzer

          Nah, it would have one, but you would have to use Flashtool to flash a firmware from another country to enable it. No root or unlocked bootloader required though.

        • moew

          Which can be enabled with a simple flash.

      • DanG

        Ego and price..

      • Birtzer

        That would be to good to be true. Google wouldn’t go that over the top.

      • Adil Tajgeer

        Of all the companies that could make it, I see zero chance Sony in their delusional arrogance of the superiority of their brand would accept to build the device with none of their branding on it.

        • paul_cus

          Lol, well said.

        • michael arazan

          God, I used to have sony everything when I was younger, and it never broke down. Even the 2nd gen car CD players never skipped. I still have a Boombox cassette/ cd with remote in my bedroom that still works to this day from 1991

        • MastermindDrew

          It would have had expandable storage that cost more than the phone

        • Catherineamoore4

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj38d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !mj38d:
          ➽➽
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash38MediaCloudGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj38d:….,….

      • CabbageHeadCat.

        I’m sorry but “cheapsteaks”?

        • ChrisI

          *cheapstakes. Like “sweepstakes”, but cheaper and more clonier.

          • ScoobySnack

            Umm, “cheapskates”?

      • Mike Stout

        I’d pay upwards of $700 for a Sony Pixel device.

    • ChrisI

      I’ve always wanted one of those.

  • KleenDroid

    Amazing