Google has been selling its own hardware for years. The Chromebook Pixel line of laptops and the Chromecast line of media streamers are all Google. But when it comes to phones, the company has long relied on partnerships with other companies: Nexus phones have been built buy HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Motorola.
Things sort of changed in 2016, with the launch of a new line of products including Google Home, Daydream View, and the Pixel phones… but even those phones were built by HTC.
Now it looks like Google is going all-in on the idea of building its own phones. The company has announced a $1.1 billion deal to hire about 2,000 people away from HTC and to license intellectual property from the company. Google is officially becoming a phone maker.
The deal is actually a little smaller/more complicated than some folks had expected: HTC is offering its IP in a non-exclusive arrangement. And the company will continue to make phones and other products (like the HTC Vive VR headset) under its own brand name.
HTC says this will let the company streamline its product portfolio, although there was obviously never anything stopping HTC from doing that before. the bigger news is that HTC, which has been struggling to compete with rivals like Samsung, Apple, and Huawei in recent years, now has $1.1 billion more to play with. That could help the company shift its focus in the coming years.
For now, HTC says it’s already working on the follow-up to this year’s HTC U11. So it looks like HTC isn’t exiting the phone business just yet.
This isn’t the first time Google has bought significant assets from a phone maker. The company acquired Motorola’s phone business in 2012, but sold it to Lenovo two years later. In that case Google was only really interested in the patents.
The HTC deal comes at a time when Google is doubling down on its Pixel line of premium devices which the company says offer “the best Google experience” in hardware, software, and services. In the past Google, like Microsoft, has basically offered software and services and relied on partners for the hardware. But, like Microsoft, the company has decided to have it both ways in recent years… but offering a premium line of products for a best-in-class experience, while also continuing to make its software available for third-party device makers to give customers a range of choices when it comes to features and price points.
It remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on Google’s consumer hardware lineup. The company is holding an event on October 4th to unveil new products including phones, smart speakers, and a laptop. But all of those items were in the works before the HTC deal was announced.
read more at… a lot of sites, via Techeme