Google is buying the HTC team that it uses to design its Pixel phones, including 2,000 staff and a stack of intellectual property. The deal is a clear sign that Google is dead serious about its drive to build hardware. But as we’ve argued before, this isn’t hardware for hardware’s sake: it's Google’s push to monetize its ferocious machine-learning expertise. Now, it's betting that HTC talent will help it build AI into hardware and develop an ecosystem of smart gadgets that we all want to use.