Google said it has entered into a deal with HTC to acquire the latter’s R&D section that has been working on Google’s Pixel phones. The deal is worth a whopping $1.1 billion and will be paid in cash.

This should also be an indication of the type of commitment Google has towards it hardware dreams. The Mountain View company also seems to be avoiding the sort of scenario it had landed up in post its Motorola takeover. Instead, what is evident is that Google is keen to have in place a robust team of researchers that can craft the myriad technologies that would go into the next generation of smartphones, smart home speakers, tablets and everything else it wishes to be identified with in future.

Google just doesn’t seem to get into the nitty-gritties of being involved in the actual manufacturing process, rather leaving it to its partner companies to do the same; or at least for now. Managing a team of researchers is also much simpler than having to deal with the day-to-day proceedings of an entire company having offices and manufacturing facilities throughout the world – read Motorola.

Google also has a long standing relationship with the Taiwanese company that stretches back decades. In fact, the first Android smartphone was manufactured by HTC and was named HTC Dream. It has also been involved with the manufacture of several Nexus smartphones and tablet, besides the first gen Pixel phone as well.

Meanwhile, another crucial aspect of the deal is that HTC will have the liberty to continue with its own smartphone efforts. The company has also stated it is on track to launching its next flagship for 2018. Of course there are no details of the upcoming phone as yet though it will be interesting to see how it will be able to manage things when a substantial chunk of its R&D division now switching over to Google.

Also, while the current flagship, the U11 has been well received, its successor has to be out of the ordinary if HTC wishes to remain in contention as a smartphone maker of repute. Apple already has shifted the bar higher with its iPhone X while the likes of the Essential PH1 or the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 has the way forward with smartphones in the new era.

The Google deal with HTC however does not impact the latter’s VR projects which again has been a surprise hit, with its Vive headset selling in sizeable numbers.