Google has entered into a new agreement with HTC that will see the companies cooperate on the development of new hardware.
There have been ties between the companies for some time, with HTC and Google having worked together on the Nexus line of smartphones, and to create Google’s first big pieces of Google-brand mobile devices with last autumn’s Pixel and Pixel XL devices. Their new deal will see a team of HTC join Google’s hardware division, and also entails non-exclusive licensing of HTC intellectual property.
News of the deal arrives ahead of an announcement of Google’s new 2017 hardware products scheduled for October 4th, and the agreement does not seem to be related to those forthcoming devices; in a post on Google’s blog, Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh said that while his team is excited about the soon-to-be-announced devices, they are “even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years.” Osterloh did not elaborate on what kinds of devices may result from the new collaborative agreement, but HTC specializes primarily in smartphones, and the team to join Google comprises the same individuals who worked on its Pixel devices.
The deal reportedly entailed a cash payment from Google of $1.1 billion, a significant investment on Google’s part and likely a much appreciated capital influx for HTC, whose devices are thought to have seen declining marketshare over the past several years. Meanwhile, another IT giant that has mostly focused on software, Facebook, is also reportedly preparing a big leap into hardware in the coming months, pointing to growing competition in this area between some of the world’s biggest IT brands.