Google-HTC deal: What is there in it for India?

Google can now focus on newer customized products specific to the needs of the Indian market. The Apples and Samsungs of India will have to revisit their strategies.

For long, Google has been focusing on more on promoting its Android operating system and applications than its mobile devices. This strategy has propelled the company to become the top mobile software vendor. Data from IDC shows that its flagship Android operating system held 85 percent of the smartphone software market in Q1 2017. 
It seems now the tech giant is serious on hardware with its billion-dollar deal with HTC to acquire 2000 engineers for their expertise in design and manufacturing devices. "We’re focused on building our core capabilities while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software—like the Google Assistant—with thoughtfully designed hardware," said Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice president- Hardware, in an official blog. 
Google’s presence in the Indian smartphone hardware market has been small. But, with positive response received by Google Pixel, the company has been eyeing to sell its smartphones and challenge mobile hardware giants like Apple and Samsung, currently dominating the Indian and global markets. 
“On a global level, the deal is a good extension, but as the Indian market mostly falls under the low-end and mid low-end device range, we will have to wait and see what devices Google comes up with. It can now focus on newer customized products specific to the needs of the Indian market,” said Jaipal Singh, market analyst at IDC.
At present, most of Google’s software is run on devices manufactured by companies like Samsung and LG. The deal serves as a strategic push by Google to distribute its software products and get a direct control on developing hardware. “When Google gets the control of hardware and design side, they have more liberty to do more with their devices. Google no longer has to depend on a partner for developing hardware,” added Singh. 
The deal also gives the company more control to optimize and give a better experience to its customers by leveraging better design capabilities. A spokesperson from Google informed IDG that post the deal with HTC, the company plans to provide a better experience to its mobile device customer base in India. 
HTC, on the other hand, has been struggling to make an impact in the premium phone segment, which the company dominated once in India. But, the company plans to streamline its portfolio and has been making strides in R&D and manufacturing.  “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services,” said Cher Wang, Chairperson and CEO of HTC, in a media release.