There was a shock development today when it emerged that HTC may not manufacture the next Google Pixel smartphone. Instead, the search engine giant looks set to switch to LG, with the two companies having previously collaborated on Nexus products.
It was generally believed that HTC had a multi-year deal in place to build Google Pixel smartphones, but that now looks in doubt. A bug report has been discovered that was submitted by an LG employee, apparently in relation to the next Pixel smartphone.
The bug report in question made reference to Taimen, which is believed to be a code name for a forthcoming Pixel handset. A Google employee responded by asking for the submission to be moved away from the public tracker, with the new location given as ‘Android > Partner > External > LGE > Taimen > power’.
There have been rumours of three new Pixel smartphones, carrying the code names Muskie, Walleye and Taimen. It is now believe that the Muskie project has been cancelled.
At the time of their launch, Google emphasised that the Pixel and Pixel XL were both the company’s own creations. However, it is believed that HTC played a role in development, as well as the manufacture, of the products.
It is possible that HTC will still remain involved in the Pixel project, albeit producing only one device this time.
Google’s requirements in 2017 are likely to be very different to last year’s stipulations, given the trend towards ‘bezel-less’ smartphones. The premium devices released by HTC this year have continued to include relatively large bezels, opening up the possibility that the Taiwanese company is currently unable to follow current design trends.