Google is ramping up its efforts in the mobile space, with a US$1.1 billion purchase of HTC talent to play a key role in its development of smartphone hardware. The agreement sees Google bring HTC brainpower in-house to build Google products, while leaving HTC free to continue virtual reality and smartphone pursuits of its own.
Google and HTC have already been working together for years, mixing its respective software and hardware know-how into consumer products like the HTC Dream, the Nexus One and more recently, the Google Pixel smartphone.
Many of the HTC staff who worked on the Google Pixel will move across to Google's hardware division, which is responsible for "Made by Google" products like the Google Daydream View, Google Home and the Google Chromecast Ultra. Google is gearing up to launch a new generation of Made by Google products on October 4, and it will also receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property to support its Pixel smartphones.
In the meantime, HTC will continue chipping away at its own smartphones and virtual reality gear, such as the Vive headset. In a press release, the company also flags its interest in other technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
"This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and Vive virtual reality businesses," said Cher Wang, CEO of HTC. "We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services."
The deal is expected to close in early 2018.