Context Matters: “Huawei Nexus” Confirmation May Have Been Grossly Misinterpreted
Yesterday, several news sites ran with the story that Huawei may have “confirmed” the existence of another Nexus this year. The source for their news originated from an article on a website covering the launch of the Huawei P9 in South Africa.
However, we feel an unrelated statement was subject to misinterpretation and molded to fit within the scope of clickbait headlines. We try to shed light on why this was a misinterpretation in our opinion. First, a bit of a backdrop:
Gearburn.com covered the launch of the Huawei P9 on their website. Their main article focuses on the current event of the launch, talking about the Huawei P9 trio and Huawei’s plans for South Africa. For their coverage, Gearburn had the opportunity to interview Charlene Munilall, General Manager for Huawei’s Consumer Business Group in South Africa. During the course of the interview, Munilall mentioned this:
We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way
Woah! Huawei is doing the Nexus again this year? This may have been your likely first reaction when you read that statement. And you wouldn’t be wrong either. The sentence says exactly that! So what, pray, is the point of this article? The point is context. The statement is missing context. Let’s rewind a little bit and see the point that is being trying to be made:
“Munilall also explained why there hasn’t been an official Nexus 6P launch in the country.
“The Nexus product is a very niche product… the techies love it but there’s a very small number of people that buy it. Hence Cellucity only brought 300… into the country,” she explained.
“…The operators generally don’t take up the Nexus device,” Munilall added.
“That said, the distributors, our open market, do bring in the device, that’s how Cellucity got it… and that will still be the same this year. We’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way,” she explained.“
When you look at the complete statements, the obvious implications of another Huawei-made Nexus are no longer so obvious. The wording certainly creates confusion, but what we believe Munilall is trying to say is more related to bringing Nexus devices physically to South Africa rather than Huawei creating another brand new Nexus, successor to the Nexus 6P. The conversation flows from “we only brought 300…” to “operators generally don’t take up the Nexus….” to “we’re doing the Nexus again this year”, which points more to the plans of carriers and other stakeholders involved in bringing in more stock of the Nexus device for the consumer this year.
The conversation then flows onto the Huawei Matebook not making its way over to South Africa, in a manner that does not indicate that a Huawei spokesperson dropped a leak for one of the biggest products from an Android enthusiast perspective. Rather, it falls perfectly within the context of South Africa not being treated as a priority market. For some additional perspective, consider the following:
Gearburn themselves, the original reporters, do not seem to make a big deal about the statement. Considering the Nexus is one of the biggest smartphones among enthusiasts (Gearburn is for the “gadget obsessed”), wouldn’t they have made the new Nexus news a bigger part of their coverage, or the main point in general? Moreover, why would the manager for a consumer business department in South Africa announce what must be one of the biggest short-term internal secrets of the company? Isn’t it plausible that she meant Huawei would be bringing the phone to South Africa that year, given the context and her position?
So, does this mean that all the hype in the last few hours was for nothing? Almost, yes. Again, the wording of the Huawei spokesperson leaves plenty of room for (mis)interpretation, so they could have snuck in a teaser for the latter half of 2016. But given the context of the statement, the location of the event and the geographical market priority of the region, it is highly unlikely that Huawei would choose such a stage to outright leak a future Nexus. Events such as the CES 2016 or the MWC 2016 or the Google I/O 2016, or even the global launch of the Huawei P9 may be better platforms to get attention from more mainstream consumer sites, and through actual announcements or teasers, not a comment by a general manager in a conversation about imports. Further, we have been only hearing about HTC and the two Nexus devices that it is tasked to produce, with no indication of any other OEM joining in the fray.
But that aside, a Huawei-made Nexus could actually be a possibility. This statement is made on the basis of prior leaks and data evidences, and not from the interview mentioned and discussed above. While the interview does not indicate there might be a Nexus coming, there have been some happenings that could indicate such a release.
For instance, Huawei did trademark the “Huawei 7P” name. This trademark is related to a mobile device, but does not necessarily point to a smartphone as it could extend onto tablets and wearables as well. Also to note is that the trademark is for the “Huawei 7P” and not “Huawei Nexus 7P”. Then there was also a benchmark that popped up for the Huawei Nexus 6P sporting a Snapdragon 820 SoC and 4GB of RAM, which appeared to be just a spec refresh. Nothing more could be ascertained from this piece of information, and benchmarks of this kind have been forged in the past.
Huawei also mentioned of a DayDream-ready device to launch in fall, later this year. But this by itself is no new information, and just a confirmation of what Google themselves mentioned during the Google I/O 2016. After Android N releases to the public, new devices will follow along which will make use of the new DayDream VR platform for providing an enriching Virtual Reality experience. While the timeline for the launch is convenient, it could just be another additional flagship grade device from Huawei instead of a Nexus.
Through the power of blogspam and passive journalism, you may have become excited at the thought of a repeat of the Huawei Nexus 6P. But our apologies for spoiling your party, as yesterday’s statement simply cannot be treated as a “confirmation” for the existence of the successor to one of the best smartphones for 2016. In our opinion, we still need more leaks from trusted sources to come at the conclusion that everyone else jumped onto. For now, we recommend you join us by keeping on your hats of skepticism.
What are your thoughts on the statements made by the Huawei spokesperson at the South Africa event? Do you feel it is an accidental slip of classified knowledge? Or is it a deliberate “leak” statement made to grab the headlines and the hype? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Edit: Huawei has reached out to us with a statement, as read below in its entirety:
“We don’t comment on future products, as a matter of policy. Huawei is committed to creating the world’s most compelling and innovative devices, offering an exceptional performance and outstanding user experience.
We are proud to have worked with Google, which is strong in innovation, on the Nexus 6P and will continue to collaborate in the future, such as our support for Daydream, the recently-announced platform for high performance mobile VR.”
The statements are left open to interpretation.