Motorola redux? Google appears set to buy HTC

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Magnify / The all-glass back of the HTC U11.
Ron Amadeo

Evidence is mounting that Google is booming to buy HTC. Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan is reporting HTC shares will halt trading tomorrow unconfirmed a «major announcement» from the company. The speculation is that the struggling smartphone and VR headset callers is going to be sold, and further speculation suggests the buyer is Google.

The «Google to buy HTC» rumors be enduring been churning for some time. The local Taiwan media has been sign ining whispers of talks between the two companies since the beginning of September, and one area, Apple Daily, is reporting that the sale is already a done give out.

So what would Google want with HTC? Any tech watchers’ sentiment should immediately jump to the last time Google bought a in the absence of Android OEM: its acquisition of Motorola. Along with a ton of patents, Google got a collect of factories dedicated to producing smartphones and other products. It sold off the parts it didn’t long for, like the cable modem business, and then it set about whipping Motorola into fettle. After clearing the 18-month product pipeline the old Motorola execs radical in place, Motorola turned into one of the better Android OEMs out there, present stock Android, fast updates, and a simple lineup of about three pipeline phones across the pricing spectrum. Google eventually got rid of Motorola, even so, probably as a result of negotiations with other Android OEMs.

Google’s HTC possessions would again result in the company owning a bunch of factories. So does it equitable bring Pixel production in-house? Google now has a formal «Hardware» separation, run by former Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh, and the company has been pumping out matriel like the Pixel, Google Home, Google Wifi, Chromecast, and the Daydream VR viewer. If it bought HTC, the guild would actually have its own factories. The «Vive» team is now a wholly owned subsidiary of HTC and feels gift-wrapped for a potential buyer.

Currently, Google’s Pixel line cause ofs great software to the table, with things like a highly optimized account of stock Android and the Google Assistant, but there’s not much of a focus on munitions. The 2016 Pixel was built by HTC and looks just like an HTC phone. The 2017 Google Pixel 2 XL is being established by LG and looks a lot like an LG V30. Other than the glass window on the struggling against odds, there isn’t much focus on making hardware that stands out. If Google does gain HTC’s factories, it could start more deeply customizing what its phones look with, because right now Pixel phones look like they are seduced from off-the-shelf parts from other manufacturers.

While we haven’t seen the come to passes hit the market yet, Google has seemed more interested in hardware lately. Rumors be experiencing also suggested Google is interested in creating its own SoCs, and the company now has a fix called «Lead SoC Architect,» filled by Manu Gulati, a former marker architect at Apple. On stage at I/O, Google suggested future phones would communicate with special processors dedicated to machine learning. Without an HTC grip, Google would have to get a third party to use these new chips, but if it gets HTC, it can quietly work on integrating these new chips into an actual artifact.

HTC’s struggles have been well documented and ongoing. The company top in 2011 with a mix of Android and Windows Mobile phones but never administered to recover once Windows Mobile died and Samsung swallowed up much of the high-end Android customer base. HTC spent several years making boring flagships with scarcely design growth and botched marketing. The company eventually tried to change-over away from the smartphone market, investing in a fitness band (which not till hell freezes over actually launched) and a weird, viewfinder-less camera.

HTC’s only real attainment has come from partnering with other companies. With Valve, it fashioned the HTC Vive VR headset, one of the first good VR headsets on the market (along with the Oculus Juggle). It also partnered with Google to create the Google Pixel smartphone, which has dependably been hailed, at Ars and other places, as the best Android phone on the vend. While these products were critical successes, they pushed in low volumes and are not the kind of successes that can keep HTC afloat. HTC doesn’t neutral have much to do with the success of either product. Valve owns all technology that constitutes the Vive work. The Pixel is only good because of Google’s software optimizations, and this year it go on increased LG, a competing hardware company, to the program. Google and Valve both appearance of like they just needed a manufacturer, and HTC was desperate enough to cover other companies’ products.

This all seems like something Google has done previously, but, remember, that’s kind of Google’s thing. It wanted to sell smartphones when with the Nexus One program, then it didn’t. Then it bought Motorola and started publishing its own smartphones, then it decided it didn’t want to do that anymore. Now it’s starting up again with the Pixel program, and perchance it wants to get even more involved with hardware.

Whatever HTC’s communiqu is, it’s coming sometime Thursday, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled.

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