There’s been a massive collection of incorrect reporting and false news surrounding that Google just “bought” HTC, which is simply just not true. What is true, however, is that Google have made a very heavy investment, $1.1 billion USD to be exact, in HTC’s hardware division, which itself will still continue, but will incredibly strengthen Google’s future hardware efforts.
The question the majority of the world will be likely thinking, is obvious, why? Well, to get a clear definitive answer to why Google would want a stake in HTC’s hardware division really draws down to how it has been over the past year or so.
Last year, Google launched their “madebygoogle” program, which with it came the launch of a collection of new devices, mainly in the debut of the Pixel smartphone. What most people likely don’t realise about the Google Pixel, is, whilst it is designed entirely by Google, the device itself, manufactured by HTC. Upon the birth of the Google Pixel, HTC set out a Pixel specific sector of the company, which would focus on the Pixel smartphone as well as future Pixel devices going forward, and it’s that division who have been purchased by Google.
What this means for HTC
HTC has been suffering a lot in the past few years, not just in terms of financial uncertainty, but both marketshare and mindshare. The company announced their latest flagship, the U11, back in May, and honestly it is a very compelling Smartphone. Sure, the U11 doesn’t support the decreased bezel trend others are doing, but when it comes to a fantastic piece of hardware, you can’t deny the U11 isn’t a compelling choice for that. One area where HTC isn’t strong in, at least to us, is software, typically software on HTC devices is quite frankly dreadful, but there’s a clear niche out there that love it, but will that be enough to keep the company going, who knows.
Investors in HTC see this Google deal as a lifeline for the company, and an opportunity for HTC to make some final attempts to re-build themselves and hopefully gain some mindshare, and ensure growth, though this isn’t the first time HTC has been in this situation.
Reality case surrounding HTC does continue to look questionable, especially with Google essentially taking their best people out of the company, but time really will tell on what the company future lies.
What this means for Google, and, for you.
What this means for Google is far more substantial, on a herculean scale! This means Google can truly become both a software and hardware company. Why is this important, well, for one, that is the single biggest technological advantage held uniquely by Apple for years in Smartphones, and decades in Computing! The ability to know that one single company alone was behind the product you hold is everything to the experience, and we’re not talking hardware here, that’s relative, we’re talking the software experience paired with that hardware!
One thing we saw last year with the original Google Pixel, was something we’ve been waiting to see in Android since the very first one, clarity and a more closer integration of hardware and software, only made possible by the software being designed to match said hardware! What did this lead to, well it led to one of the strongest Cameras on Android, but it also led to silky smooth performance throughout the system, was it perfect, hell no, and it did lag now and then, but the level of how close Google’s Pixel was to that benchmark previously said by Apple, which it lost by a long fall following the release of iOS 7, has never been closer.
The Google Pixel is the only family of devices you can purchase running Android which a promised lifespan, Google promises 3 years of software support on Pixel devices, further in terms of security patches, which 1 year on is holding very true, but the speed of which you receive software isn’t everything, it’s how the experience runs and feels, and it’s that which the Pixel strength lies.
Following the deal with HTC’s hardware division moving to Google, honestly, is music to our ears. Whilst we doubt the devices announced at the upcoming Event will reflect this at all quite yet, the future of Google’s hardware, specifically in relation to Pixel, delivers upon one of the first, which for the very first time since Android’s inception in 2008, holds a true challenge to Apple and it’s iPhone, and with it competition. Google will own the software, own the hardware, control the experience and deliver the best experience possible due to that, the same strength which only Apple could tout.
Many are wondering what this will mean to Android OEMs such as Samsung etc. Well, what we’d ask first is, why you concerned about them, the main beneficiary of this deal is the consumer, you. Android OEMs will be forced to step up their game to compete with their own experience on the Android platform, something which I highly doubt they won’t be able to do, which means infinitely better Android phones from the slop we’re seeing now from the most of them! And, with infinitely better Android phones, sparks the first real time the iPhone will suffer competition, which will force Apple out of the lazy bed it’s been in these past few years, to wake up and deliver an infinitely better iPhone! The fact is, we all benefit if Google do this right!
Isn’t this just another Motorola deal…
This we completely understand. For those unfamiliar, Google actually purchased the entire Smartphone business of Motorola in 2011. The result of the purchase led to a collection of actually really good Smartphone lines, such as the Moto X, Moto E, and the incredibly popular Moto G series of Smartphones running a mostly stock Android experience. The deal later halted, leading to the Motorola brand being purchased by Lenovo, who owns the brand now, which has led to quite a lesser quality in Smartphones.
However, the difference between the Google + Motorola deal, and this, is massive and a very important detail needs to be addressed. The Motorola deal included the entirety of Motorola’s Phone business, it’s brand and it’s patents. This deal, doesn’t. Google will gain the expertise and man power it needs to continue the Pixel project separate from HTC, it gives it true hardware strengths it previously never had, however HTC as a company can go on separately. This is Google building Pixel in to a true Google hardware brand, and that ain’t gonna end.
Full press on the Google + HTC agreement
Google’s SVP of Hardware, Rick Osterloh, had this to say on the Google + HTC agreement;
About a year and a half ago, I joined Google to pursue my dream job to create compelling hardware products, built with Google’s smarts at their core. As a first step, we brought together various consumer hardware-related efforts and established a single hardware organization within the company. 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. Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run.
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. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. 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.
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.
It’s still early days for Google’s hardware business. We’re focused on building our core capabilities, while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software—like the Google Assistant—with thoughtfully designed hardware. HTC has been a longtime partner and has created some of the most beautiful, high-end devices on the market. We can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team to join us on this journey.
Published September 21st on Google’s website.
Time will truly tell what lies in the future of Google in the Smartphone business, but regardless, the future is looking very bright for those fans of the Pixel, and the state of Android, which is only going to get much better.