Google's $1.1 billion tie-up with HTC is meant to "drive computing forward," the former's Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said during Alphabet's conference call with investors held on Thursday, immediately after the tech giant boasted about a "terrific" quarter. The 45-year-old described Google's acquisition of HTC's talent as a straightforward move designed to combine many of the firm's hardware and software projects into a single unit, noting how that's precisely the manner in which computing technologies are usually advanced and what the Alphabet-owned company is planning to do as well.
During the same call, Google CEO revealed that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have been performing rather well so far, noting that the Android-powered duo reached double the amount of pre-orders amassed by the original Pixel lineup last year, though he didn't elaborate on the matter. The company's general hardware ambitions are a way for it to express its "opinion" on a global level, Mr. Pichai said, suggesting that the Pixel devices can still be seen as spiritual successors to the Nexus-branded offerings which were meant to serve as benchmarks for what the Android ecosystem is capable of delivering in a smartphone format. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is now expanding that approach to more product categories, having just recently launched new smart speakers in the form of the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max, as well as the Pixel Buds earphones and Google Clips, a highly automated home camera. All of the firm's new consumer electronics heavily rely on machine learning and general artificial intelligence technologies and its future products will do the same, thus reinforcing Google's commitment to transition to "an AI-first company," as Mr. Pichai put it earlier this year.
Around 2,000 HTC engineers that are currently in the process of joining Google following the aforementioned acquisition announced in late summer will contribute to the company's growing hardware ambitions and will provide Google with expertise that transcends smartphones, Google CEO said, noting how the new talent will be working on everything from virtual reality products to smart speakers. The deal also provides Google with the right to use HTC's vast patent portfolio, though the tech giant has yet to give any indication on how it intends to do so.