Sam Byford for The Verge:
This year, we may see a first for Google’s line of Nexus Android phones: a Chinese manufacturer. The Information reports that Huawei is in line to produce the device, which is said to be planned for fall. It’s not the first we’ve heard of the possibility; IBT said last month that the Huawei Nexus phone was coming, citing an employee at the company’s UK branch, while Android Police published a tentative rumor in May suggesting that there would be two Nexus phones this year — a 5.7-inch Huawei device and a 5.2-inch phone from LG.
Every time the rumor of multiple Nexus phones in 2015 has come up, I've been very dismissive of it, simply because I failed to see a reason why Google would bother releasing two 5-inch Nexus phones at the same time. It's not like they've mastered or even achieved basic competency at releasing a single model globally in meaningful quantities as yet 1.
With Huawei's rumored model supposedly only a half inch or so bigger than the more likely (to me) LG Nexus phone, I could never reconcile why there'd be more than one new model.
The relationship between Google and Huawei could be mutually beneficial beyond the phone’s co-development. The Information claims that talks are in progress for Huawei to help Google bring a mobile app store to China, where government regulations have restricted the search giant from conducting much business of note.
Now this is interesting, and would clearly justify an additional Nexus device.
Furthermore, upon thinking further on my words above about Google's continued inability to launch Nexus phones at any meaningful scale, another reason for multiple Nexus phones becomes clear, especially when combined with comments by Patrick Pichette (the company's then CFO) earlier this year:
“While the Nexus 6 was well received as a new phone, we had real issues and were unable to secure sufficient inventory to meet the demand that we had forecasted.”
Having multiple manufacturers create Nexus phones would allow Google to hedge in the event a partner is unable to deliver the requisite Nexus supply for whatever reason (whether nefarious or not), and hopefully put the company in a better position supply-wise on launch day.
It could very well be that there's fire with this smoke after all.
- Google have had some success here. Certainly 2013's Nexus 5 and 7 launches were largely very successful with regards to plentiful supply and global availability. But unfortunately, these launches have proved to be an exception rather than the rule, as 2014's Nexus 6 and Nexus Player launches in particular were straight back to the dark days.