A new report suggests that Google gave Huawei the option to produce the upcoming Pixel phones that will be revealed tomorrow, but negotiations between the companies broke down when Google demanded no partner logos would appear on this year’s smartphones. The report from Android Police highlights this as just one sticking point that made Huawei back out of the deal it was offered after producing the Nexus 6P last year.
The partnership between Huawei and Google for the Nexus 6P extended well beyond what previous manufacturers offered the Nexus program. Both the 5X and the Nexus 6P had extensive warranties that were the first of its kind for Google-backed devices. Google and Huawei both offered financing for the phones, Google through its Project Fi service and Huawei through its own website.
However, the report says Huawei didn’t exactly get the rosy deal Google promised when the two companies came together to form the partnership. Apparently one of the big ideas Google had to get Huawei on board was that the Nexus 6P would be sold by all four major national carriers in the US. Huawei would finally have a flagship device on all four carriers, including Verizon, so the company hopped on the deal.
Aside from a huge campaign to see the Nexus 6P appear in carrier stores across the country, the two companies were supposed to trade massive advertising budgets for the device in order to promote it. An agreement was struck between Huawei and Google that advertising dollars would be matched between the companies to promote the Nexus 6P, but that massive advertising campaign never happened, either.
As we all know, that’s not the way the Nexus 6P was sold in the United States. Talks between Google and the carriers broke down, so Google demanded Google Store exclusivity for the device for a fixed period before it could be offered on third-party retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo. The only concession here is that Huawei was allowed to sell the phone on their own website, but the limited availability of the phone meant it had very little retail visibility for consumers who didn’t already know about the Nexus line of phones.
So what happened this year? Why did Huawei back out?
With all of the broken promises between Google and Huawei surrounding the Nexus 6P, it’s really no surprise that the company backed out of this year’s devices. The source cited by Android Police says Huawei and Google were in talks to make up to three phones this year, though it’s not clear if they would have been branded as Nexus, Pixel, or something else.
What destroyed the partnership before it took off is one of the ground rules Google laid out for the partnership. Google stated Huawei would serve as the manufacturer only and Google branding would appear on the phone, with no Huawei logo on the exterior of the device or anywhere in official marketing. (You won’t see HTC anywhere on the Pixel phones that are being unveiled tomorrow.)
This was the nail in the coffin for Huawei Pixel phones, as the source says Huawei global CEO Richard Yu shut down the negotiations himself. Thus Google had to go with their plan B, which ended up with HTC winning the contract to produce the new phones.