Last year the Nexus phones were manufactured by LG (Nexus 5X) and Huawei (Nexus 6P). The latter was the flagship and was regarded as a great phone. So it makes sense that Google would go back to Huawei to manufacture their new Pixel smartphones but apparently the two companies shared some bad blood after the release of the 6P that made that deal unlikely. Google finally went with HTC. Android Authority says an unnamed source gave them this information so it should be taken with a grain of salt and yet, the story seems plausible enough to be real.
Apparently the original plan for Google was to aggressively market the Nexus 6P throughout the US but they ran in to some trouble with the four major carriers in the US, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. This led to the Nexus 6P being unavailable on either one and just being sold through the Google Store and Huawei’s website. A major ad campaign worth hundreds of millions of dollars was also planned by Google to sell the phone but that never materialised either. Finally, the Nexus 6P bore no sign of the Huawei brand name anywhere on its body. This was the last straw.
The Nexus 6P would’ve been a spectacular entrance for Huawei in the US market but Google’s “raw deal” gave them absolutely no way to spread their presence. Marketing through a major US carrier could’ve given them some sort of foothold or a niche market they could work with and the ad campaign would’ve attracted geeks and reviewers on YouTube and informed the public at large about the Chinese brand. But when even the name of the brand was absent from the phone, who would ever know that Huawei was even a company? Besides the more tech savvy, who would care to Google which company built what Nexus phone? They’d just buy whatever caught their eye. Hence, when Huawei was approached to build the Pixel phone they shook their heads and showed Google the door. Who can blame them?
That being said, this is a huge missed opportunity on the part of Huawei. The release of the Pixel phones is being touted as the most important event in Google’s history since the unveiling of the original Android OS in 2008. Maybe they wouldn’t have gotten as much publicity out of this event but they would’ve been inducted in to a major chapter in the history of mobile tech.