Yesterday's event was all about Google, the hardware company, just as much as it was about their annual phone releases. Instead of releasing the familiar Nexus devices in conjunction with a partner of their choosing, Google chose to go it alone this time around. Of course, that's not 100 percent true, as Google doesn't have the same sort of manufacturing facilities as say, Samsung, to just start rolling devices off of the assembly line. To make the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google chose HTC, and while this will certainly help their bottom line, it won't be doing anything for their brand or image, something has been bruised for some time now.
Comments from HTC's Jeff Gordon paint a rosy picture, with Gordon saying that "we're proud that when Google needed an industry-leading partner for the Pixel, HTC was the clear answer". While some people might not think of HTC like this, this is the HTC the world knew before they became Samsung's main rival in the Android world. HTC was known for creating hardware for companies such as HP during the PDA golden days, but they shifted gears back in 2009 to become front and center when users were looking for their next smartphone. The HTC brand has become well known in the industry, with devices like the ThunderBolt pioneering 4G networks in the United States, and the original HTC One showing the Android world how good-looking a smartphone can be. The industry might be fond of HTC, but the consumer doesn't know the name "HTC" all that well, and Aaron Greengart, from Consumer Analytics said that "most consumers have never heard of HTC, and even fewer will know that Pixel is made by HTC".
Earlier, we ran a report that focused on the Pixel and Pixel XL accounting for just 10 percent of HTC's annual shipment of phones this year, which suggests that while HTC will benefit financially from the Pixel contract, their image isn't going anywhere as a result. This is the sort of relationship that Apple has with Foxconn, and while HTC is clearly a strong partner of Google's, when it comes down to the Pixel, this is all business and in business, someone often gets a rough deal.