Recent reports have suggested that HTC is again looking to spin-off or outright sell its VR business, but now a new rumor states that the company could actually be selling its better-known smartphone business off to Google.
Chinese publication Commerical Times reports (via Digitimes) that HTC is in “the final stage of negotiation” with Google to sell its smartphone business.
HTC’s smartphone business has been struggling of late, with its latest efforts being placed in this year’s U11, and the company may be looking for an out. According to the report, it may be the Google ends up forming a strategic partnership with HTC to continue operations in this sector, or it might buy the business outright.
If true that might mean that HTC becomes almost entirely entirely dedicated to VR and its Vive brand (save for other wearable products). The company has put a lot of effort into this sector over the past few years, becoming the first to partner with Valve and release a SteamVR headset in April of last year and since launching multiple initiatives such as the Viveport Subscription service for VR content and the Viveport Arcade platform. It’s also helped form several new groups such as the VR Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA).
While we have no way of confirming the rumor, we do know Google and HTC already share a close relationship, particularly in the smartphone sector. Google contracted HTC to make its popular Pixel phone that released last year, and could be looking to do the same with the anticipated follow-up device. Outside of phones, HTC will be one of the first to released a standalone VR headset using Google’s WorldSense tracking and Daydream ecosystem later this year.