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Google buys HTC smartphone team in $1.1bn, U11 successor due out next year

Here finally is the official confirmation of the deal that was being rumored for some time now. HTC is now richer by $1.1 billion that Google is paying for acquiring a part of the former’s R&D team.

Now the section that would henceforth be joining Google is also the same that has been actively involved in several Google’s projects, including the more recent Pixel series of smartphones. In fact, Google’s association with HTC runs deeper than anyone might have thought, stretching all the way back when Android was still in the formative stages.

Together, they had made the first Android smartphone aptly named HTC Dream. That was in 2008, just a year after Apple had launched the first iPhone. The Google HTC partnership had also yielded the Nexus One in 2010 or the Nexus 9 tablet four years later.

More recently, HTC was involved in developing the first gen Pixel handset and is also actively collaborating in putting together the Pixel 2 phone. As a sign of the close partnership between Google and HTC, the Pixel 2 will also incorporate the unique squeezable sides feature that first debuted in HTC’s 2017 flagship, the U11.

However, while the exact terms of the deal is yet to be revealed, what is clear is that HTC as a smartphone brand is going to survive. That also means there is going to be a 2018 flagship phone launched sometime next year though it remains to be seen if that is going to be the last. HTC currently has substantial inventory worldwide, and it just wouldn’t have made sense if it wound up just yet. With the company gone, those would have been instantly reduced to trash. Plus, the U11 has been well received and has been moderately successful.

The Taiwanese company should also be in pretty much an advanced stage towards launching the next flagship. While there is no word yet as to what the U11 successor is going to be like, what is amply clear is that the device has to be nothing short of a revolutionary product for it to bail HTC out of the mess it is in right now.

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Meanwhile, the deal does not seem to affect HTC’s VR project, of which the Vive headset has been a surprise hit. The company is doing rather well with its VR efforts, and a recent cash infusion from Google will no doubt help it better streamline its resources to achieve greater success.

It will be interesting to see how HTC emerges post the deal with Google.