After many predictions, HTC has finally announced that part of its R&D division, the team behind Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will be joining Google. The Mountain View based search giant has announced that it the acquisition has been agreed at a price of $1.1 billion.
HTC will continue developing its own range of smartphones, including its next flagship product. The agreement also grants Google a non-exclusive license for a large part of HTC’s intellectual property portfolio. The agreement is expected to be approved and closed by early 2018.
Earlier reports claimed that HTC’s whole smartphone division would become a part of the search engine, however, now only half of its R&D division will be joining Google. The remaining R&D team will focus on HTC’s own smartphones and VR technology.
“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,” HTC co-founder and CEO Cher Wang said in a statement.
Google and HTC have almost a decade-long history of working together. HTC sold the first smartphone running on Google’s Android software, in 2008. The Taiwanese smartphone maker later produced Google’s first-generation Nexus and also the Pixel smartphones.
Rick Osterloh, Google’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Division writes in a blogpost,
“In many ways, this agreement is a testament to the decade-long history of teamwork between HTC and Google. Together, we’ve achieved several mobile-industry firsts, including the first ever Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1 (I loved mine!); as well as the Nexus One in 2010, the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and the first Pixel smartphone just last year.”
The buyout deal with HTC will give Google more control over its Pixel smartphones as engineering, and design team will now be in-house. Currently, Google is preparing to unveil its second generation of Pixel smartphones on October 4.