Taipei officially became Google's largest engineering hub in the Asia-Pacific region as the company successfully concluded its $1.1 billion deal with HTC earlier this month, its hardware SVP Rick Osterloh said Monday. The high-profile transaction that saw hundreds of HTC's employees jump to Google has been in the making for over half a year now and was initially agreed in September. Besides convincing HTC's engineering talent to jump ship, the deal also provides Google with access to HTC's vast patent portfolio that the Mountain View, California-based tech giant will now be able to use for commercial purposes.
Google has reportedly been mulling a complete takeover of HTC over the summer but ultimately decided against the idea, having concluded the Taiwanese company's business as a whole isn't a good fit for its hardware unit, insiders previously claimed. Most of HTC's employees that are now joining Google will remain in Taipei, Mr. Osterloh suggested, praising them for the many decades they have spent delivering industry "firsts" in the mobile segment and specifically highlighting the first 3G handset released by the company in 2005, the first "touch-centric" mobile device outed two years later, and the first smartphone boasting an all-metal unibody design in 2013. Google's senior executive indicated the firm is pleased with the results of its previous collaboration with HTC that led to the creation of the Pixel, Pixel XL, and the Pixel 2, ultimately prompting it to push for a more permanent relationship with the talent that made the previous Android flagships happen.
The engineers that are now joining Google are all expected to work on the Pixel 3 series which is expected to be launched in the final quarter of the year but should also be involved in Google's other consumer electronics efforts, including its projects in the smart speaker and VR segments. On the other side of things, the deal highlights HTC's resigned stance toward the mobile industry and the culmination of the company's years-long struggle to find commercial success in the global market for contemporary smartphones. The Taipei-based original equipment manufacturer is now understood to be turning its resources to VR and will release a smaller number of handset models over the course of 2018 than it did in previous years, according to recent reports.