Google is set to announce it is buying part of Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The deal for HTC’s smartphone design unit would give the US tech giant more control of its mobile handset hardware as it seeks to bolster its challenge to market leaders including Apple and Samsung.
Google did not respond to an AFP query on the report, which said an announcement could come later in the day.
HTC is already a partner of the California giant and has produced the Google-branded Pixel smartphone, an upgrade of which is set to be released next month.
But the tie-up could give Google greater ability to integrate smartphone hardware and its Android operating software in the same manner as Apple, a feature which is seen as helping the iPhone.
HTC shares have fallen sharply over the past few years as its smartphone market share has dropped. Trading in HTC was suspended pending an announcement.
It would not be the first foray into hardware for Google, which in 2012 acquired handset maker Motorola for $12.5 billion, only to sell it two years later for less than $3 billion.