Throughout much of the year, we had been hearing about new Nexus devices from Google and HTC. Now that we’ve seen the Pixel and Pixel XL launch of course, we know that the Nexus line is no more, but HTC’s involvement here has been a little cloudy. HTC is still very much a part of the Pixel story, but they’re like a background setting, rather than a title player. HTC is manufacturering the Pixel and Pixel XL for Google, but they’re not HTC’s phone, and as Google have made clear, apart from HTC’s involvement, these are very much “made by Google”. What’s interesting is just what sort of impact two new high-profile launches from Google will have on HTC’s figures for the year.
As it turns out, the answer to that question is; more than you think. According to a report – which may or may not be on the money – the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones make up 10% of HTC’s annual shipment figures for the whole world. Given that the same report goes on to say that Pixel and Pixel XL orders are to number 500,000 apiece, that would mean that HTC has shipped just 10 Million smartphone for 2016. That figure, while saddening, is not all that surprising. The HTC 10 has failed to capture mainstream success like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and while the Desire line of mid-range and low-end devices continue to offer decent value for money, these lines don’t appear to have captured that much of the market, either. The idea that Google has only ordered 500,000 of each Pixel smartphone, seems like a low figure, but then this could be the initial batch that Google is launching with.
The relationship between HTC and Google here is very much the same that Apple has with Foxconn, where the latter only makes the devices, and that’s it. As such, it could be very much the case that Google is easily able to ask HTC to produce more inventory whenever they need to, which hasn’t always appeared the case with the Nexus arrangements. Regardless of whether or not this report is true or not, the Pixel and Pixel XL have a lot of competition out there, and no doubt the Google branding will help, they will certainly have their work cut out for them.