20 years of ups and downs for HTC

In the wake of news that Google has bought part of HTC mobile’s R&D division for US$1.1bil (RM4.62bil), it’s time to take a look back on the history of the Taiwanese manufacturer, which at one point was one of the world’s top-five smartphone producers.

For many years HTC was a major player on the mobile phone market until it was overtaken by a slew of Chinese companies and became mired in financial difficulties. But this didn’t prevent the Taiwanese manufacturer from innovating and occasionally causing a sensation with such launches as its waterproof RE camera in 2014 and its Vive VR headset in 2016.

HTC will be celebrating 20 years in business in 2017. Having worked with Microsoft on its mobile operating system, the company was quick to join forces with Google, when Android was launched in 2008. Thereafter, HTC became the preferred partner for the giant of Mountain View. It was, for example, HTC that built the first ever Nexus smartphone, which was launched by Google in 2010. Six years later in 2016, Google once again called on HTC to build its Pixel models. With its recent purchase, Google will have full control over the development of its own range of mobile devices.

In its days of glory at the beginning of the current decade, HTC was one of the world’s top-five smartphone makers. But little by little, it was overtaken by Huawei and a stack of Chinese manufacturers (Oppo, Vivo, etc.) who now share most of the Asian market.

In point of fact, Google is not acquiring much more than the branch of the manufacturer that already works on its products, the Pixel and its successors, as well as the right to make use of a range of registered patents. HTC is not about to totally abandon the world of smartphones and is expected to continue to produce new models under its own brand. The manufacturer is also expected to pursue its investment in virtual reality and the internet of things (the company’s catalogue already includes two fitness devices: a smart chest strap and bracelet).

It should be noted that HTC is not the first manufacturer to be partially bought by Google. This was already the case with the 2011 purchase of the Motorola, which was followed by a resale at a loss to Lenovo two and a half years later. — AFP Relaxnews