Google Bets Big on Smartphone Hardware

Google Bets Big on Smartphone Hardware
Google has paid over $1 billion for HTC in the hope that the deal will give it the edge over Apple.

(CCM) — Google is making a billion dollar bet on its ability to beat Apple at the very top end of the highly competitive smartphone market.

The search engine giant has acquired Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC in a $1.1 billion deal, providing it with access to 2,000 smartphone engineers based in that country, according to a Bloomberg report. Many of these new highly skilled human resources are likely to be tasked with designing custom hardware chips for Google's Pixel smartphones.

In the past Google has concentrated on the software side of its smartphones, while using standard microchips made by Qualcomm. But Apple has sought a competitive advantage in the market by designing its own custom chips to carry out specialist tasks such as motion tracking, graphics processing, and running artificial intelligence algorithms in models such as the iPhone X, the report says.

Google is now hoping that its HTC engineers will be able to provide it with the "custom silicon" needed to make its Pixel range more technologically advanced than anything Apple's engineers can come up with. Longer term Google may hope to develop its own main processors to replace the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors that it uses today, in the same way that Apple's smartphones are already powered by its own proprietary range of main processors.

In 2012 Google attempted to give its smartphone business a shot in the arm by paying $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, but this venture was a failure and Motorola Mobility was subsequently disposed of.

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