The Google has just confirmed that it plans to acquire part of HTC’s mobile division team for $1.1 billion. The second time that Google has made a big purchase involving a smartphone manufacturer.
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HTC will continue onward with its own smartphone business. Even after sending a good portion of its talent and operations over to Google. HTC to employ more than 2,000 research and design staffers after the deal done, down from around 4,000. That makes today’s announcement more of an acquihire of talent than a traditional acquisition of resources.
“Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere,” said then-Google CEO Larry Page.
Six years ago, Google announced a $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola Mobility. After the Motorola experiment. Google carried on with its Nexus program by partnering with smartphone makers to release handsets that ran the company’s preferred. The google managed version of the Android operating system.
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Google got more serious about taking charge of hardware development. Last year with the debut of its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google Home, and Google Wifi. HTC manufactured both 2016 Pixels, designed by Google and marketed as Google devices. HTC basically served as a silent contractor. The move could bring Google closer to achieving the hardware/software synergy.
Though HTC and other Android smartphone makers still use off-the-shelf processors and other components in their handsets. Earlier this year, Google hired away one of Apple’s chip architects in what might be an attempt to evolve beyond that and design its own silicon.
Google’s next hardware products, set to include the HTC-made Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL (manufactured by LG), Google Home Mini, and Pixel book will be unveiled at an October 4th event in San Francisco.
HTC closely tied to the debut of 4G cellular networks in the United States. It’s Evo 4G was the initial device to support Sprint’s now-defunct WiMax standard. In 2011, HTC made a more significant technological splash with the Thunderbolt, which was the first-ever LTE smartphone on Verizon Wireless. In the years since, HTC has had its share of fan favorites (One M7, HTC 10, U11) and miscalculations (One M8, U Ultra).
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HTC will keep going with its own smartphone unit even after this arrangement with Google, which is expected to be completed early next year.