Huawei exec Nexus 6P 'a dream,' but also a challenging one
The Nexus 6P is a near universal hit. It's got the size — both in terms of display real estate and in the fact that it's also thin and therefore doesn't feel as big as you might expect. It's got the specs. It's got a camera we're happy to use.
"It has always been a dream for Huawei to work with Google for the Nexus 6P," Fang told us through an interpreter, noting that a Nexus smartphone is as big a deal for the Chinese manufacturer as it is for him personally, having worked in the mobile business for more than a decade. The personal reflections were brief islands amid a sea of the usual platitudes you get around Nexus time — showcasing the Android experience on top-shelf hardware, etc. But they certainly stood out.
And there actually was a hit bit of swagger, as well. Huawei knows it can make good hardware — it's done so for some time in markets outside the United States with phones like the Mate 7 and P8.
"We make no compromises in the terms of the quality and the consumer experience from the very beginning when we designed this product," Fang said. "And we're looking to have the best quality and most exquisite product of Nexus in history. I think Google actually quite appreciates Huawei's visibility and influence in the Android world. And I think Google also recognizes Huawei's increasing market share in the global market."
Is the Nexus 6P the best Nexus of the eight phones released since 2010? That's certainly debatable, but the 6P absolutely can and should be in the running. And, again, a lot of work went into making the 6P a phone that consumers worldwide will want to use. And that's actually a new thing for Huawei, which typically takes a much more segmented approach to its product lines — think the Mate series for business folks, the P series for top design, G+ for the entry level, and Honor series for its e-commerce sales.
We're looking to have the best quality and most exquisite product of Nexus in history.
And once you've got the Nexus contract, you don't get a lot of time to get things done.
"The challenges (of working on a Nexus) come from two parts," Fang said. The first challenge is that we have a very short development cycle. The second is that this product targeting the global market. So we'll face a lot of complexities in the technology." Specifically, that has to do with the aluminum unibody construction of the Nexus 6P, and cramming in all the components necessary for all the LTE bands you'll need in a worldwide phone. "I've been working on mobile phones for over a decade," Fang continued, "and this one is the most challenging projects, and also devoted the most amount of energy and effort into this program."
There's always a give and take when it comes to Nexus phones, of course. Ask anyone who's used a Mate S or a Mate 7 and Huawei's contribution of the fingerprint scanner technology is obvious. "Actually, Google quite recognizes Huawei's innovation in fingerprint technology," Fang told us. "So Google also learned some fingerprint technology from Huawei."
And with the 6P, Huawei's taking away a little knowledge that it will adopt in its own future products.
"We also learned some superior philosophies and expertise from Google, such as USB Type-C ... So I think we might leverage this technology in some of our other phone products."
Fang was quick to squash the journalist-favorite theory that the Nexus 6P actually could be a bit of political ploy — that awarding a Nexus phone to a Chinese company could persuade China's information-controlling government to warm back up to allowing Google's services in the world's most populous nation.
"This Nexus launch is independent from their service into China," he said, later reminding us that Google — not Nexus hardware manufacturers — is the one who can speak to the realpolitik nature of the tech world. "Google also has a dedicated team to communicate with the Chinese government about the development of China-specific games and applications in this market."
In any event, this one's all about this phone. It's about the Nexus 6P.
"We believe that Huawei is moving up to the elite and high-range product," Fang said. "So in terms of the hardware and communications we can help Google develop high-range products."