Last October, Google entered into an agreement with HTC to acquire a significant proportion of HTC’s smartphone design department, in a deal worth $1.1 billion (USD). Google has now completed the deal, bringing the Pixel smartphone design team in-house.
The deal means that over 2,000 HTC engineers and designers will be moving under the Google umbrella. All the employees involved will remain in Taiwan. The deal does not affect HTC’s virtual reality (VR) or contract manufacturing teams, but the majority of the smartphone R&D team will now be part of Google.
Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh said in a Blog post that the deal means the arrival of: “incredibly talented team to work on even better and more innovative products in the years to come.” Osterioh also noted that Taipei is fast becoming one of Google’s largest engineering hubs for the Asia Pacific region.
The move is expected to have the most significant impact on Google’s line of Pixel smartphones. Google previously worked with HTC to hire some of its smartphone division on a contract basis to produce the Pixel and Pixel 2. The Pixel smartphones are aimed towards the high-end smartphone market, being the main compatible devices with the Google Daydream, and capable of handling the improved ARCore augmented reality (AR) toolkit.
With its smartphone research department moved in-house, it is conceivable that Google have further plans for its line of Pixel phones, and considering that the company has expression dedication towards VR and AR, it seems likely that any new devices will incorporate those features.
As Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC said when the deal was initially announced: “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 realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”
For any further news on Google’s VR and AR projects and products, keep watching VRFocus.