Pixel and Pixel XL are Android smart phones designed and marketed by Google. They were announced during a press event on October 4, 2016, and serve as Google’s launch devices for Android 7.1 Nougat. The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first smart phones as part of the Google Pixel line. Google previously co-developed flagship Android devices through the Nexus program, which were designed to be “reference” devices for the Android platform for other OEMs to use as a guide for their own, but retained internal similarities to other devices made by their respective partners. Under new hardware head Rick Osterloh, formerly of Motorola Mobility, Google initiated development of an ecosystem of in-house products and platforms, including the Google Home ecosystem, Google Assistant, and Google Daydream.
Osterloh stated that “a lot of the innovation that we want to do now ends up requiring controlling the end-to-end user experience”. As such, unlike the Nexus devices, the Pixel was designed by and is marketed as being a Google product; although the company used HTC as a contract manufacturer, Google has stated that the Pixel is not based on any existing HTC device. Google offered Huawei the contract to manufacture the Google Pixel smart phone, but after Google refused to dual-brand the phone with credit to the manufacturer, Huawei declined the offer.