Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, has struck a $1.1billion – roughly £822million – deal with HTC to help expand its hardware business.
The Californian technology company will not take a stake in the Taiwanese manufacturer, but a number of HTC staff will now become Googlers.
Google expects the deal to close by early 2018, should it gets the all-clear from regulators.
The $1.1billion deal should enable Google to double-down on its hardware efforts.
Last year, the US search firm introduced its an entirely new line-up of Google branded hardware products, dubbed Made By Google.
Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh posted a blog post about the deal with HTC.
Osterloh writes, “Our team’s goal is to offer the best Google experience – across hardware, software and services – to people around the world.
“Last fall, we introduced our first family of Made by Google products, including Pixel smartphones, Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View and Chromecast Ultra, and we’re preparing to unveil our second generation of products on October 4. We’re excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years.”
“That’s why we’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead.” the Google Senior Vice President adds.
“With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organisation.
“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team.
“The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.”
According to HTC, around half of their entire smartphone research and development team – some 2,000 employees – will now work at Google.
Although the Pixel and Pixel XL were marketed as the first smartphones to be designed and “made by Google”, it is actually HTC that manufacturers the handsets.
HTC is also widely-tipped to be behind at least one of the new flagship smartphones due to be launched on October 4th.
Chairwoman and CEO of HTC, Cher Wang said: “As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation.
“Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market.
“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.
“We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realise the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”
The new Pixel range is tipped to include an improved rear camera, more in-built storage, front-facing stereo speakers, and thinned bezels on the Pixel XL 2.
Some of these rumoured features have appeared in leaked photographs and analyst reports – as well as code within a public beta of Google’s own smartphone application.
Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are expected to ship with the same display sizes as their predecessors, that is to say, five-inches for the Pixel and 5.5 inches for XL.
Google will purportedly trim the bezels around the larger display on the XL 2 to reduce the overall size of the handset.
The new Pixel models will also be IP68 dust and water resistant, it has been claimed.
Google looks set to ditch the 3.5mm headphone port in favour of USB Type-C headphones.
Apple, HTC and Motorola have all debuted flagship handsets without the industry-standard audio port within the last 12 months, and now Google looks set to follow suit.
Like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus before it, Google will bundle a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle inside the box.
That should extinguish some of the pain felt by users looking to upgrade.
Express.co.uk will be at Google Pixel 2 launch in London – and will have all the news and analysis as it breaks.