HTC has started the process of selling back their 24.84% share of Beats Electronics back to the founders for $265 million.
The deal will ultimately see HTC make $85 million on their original stake, which is welcome news for the beleaguered company who has seen its market share drop to only 2.8% in Q2 2013, and their share price drop 90% from their 2011 high.
It is not yet know what effect this will have on the Beats branding and audio focus in many of HTC’s smartphones, including their HTC 8X range, but it is unfortunately clear their adoption of the branding did not do enough to boost the sales of their smartphones and keep the company profitable.
Will any of our HTC 8X-owning readers miss Beats Audio in future HTC products? Let us know below.
In a preliminary ruling the ITC has found that HTC infringes two Nokia patents to do with sending and receiving signals. The move could block 7 older HTC handsets in the US, including the HTC Amaze 4G, Inspire 4G, Flyer, Jetstream, Radar 4G, Rezound and Sensation 4G, most of which are no longer on sale.
Despite Nokia choosing the ITC as a rapid venue for action, the full ITC is scheduled to make a final decision on the matter only January 23, 2014, by which time I doubt any of the handsets will have any market relevance.
Once divested of its handset division next year, Nokia may become more aggressive in pursuing patent litigation, as as a non-practicing entity they will no longer be vulnerable to countersuits from the companies it is suing.
In the mean time however there is a bigger threat looming for smartphone makers from the rapidly fading Blackberry, which may itself soon exit the handset market. The company owns around 5,135 patents, most related to now obsolete features like keyboards, but others still fundamental given the company was around at the start of the smartphone market.
Wikibon analyst Scott Lowe notes there is a risk some-one could buy Blackberry’s patent portfolio and “start suing everyone.” Even Fairfax holdings may be looking to leverage the asset for a return on their investment.
Ultimately Blackberry’s death throes may present a bigger risk to its competitors than when it was alive.
It has been rumoured that HTC was working with the Chinese government on a new OS free from Google, Apple or Microsoft’s influence.
Now a picture has leaked on Weibo of the OS, and it bears a rather close resemblance to Windows Phone.
After a screen shot leaked of Tizen 3 also looking a lot like Windows Phone, and of course iOS 7 adopting some Metro design principles, we wonder if there are any more designers left in the world, and if they could possibly get their inspiration from somewhere else.
We have heard that a Windows Phone by HTC called the HTC Harmony was on its way this fall.
Now website WindowsPhoneBlogging claims to have the inside track on this handset, reporting it will have a 4.7 inch Super LCD3 1080p display, 2 GB of memory, 32 GB of storage and Windows Phone 8 GDR3. It will also come with HTC’s usual Beats Audio tuning.
The handsets is expected in the October-November timeframe, which is more usual than the rumoured September launch of the Nokia Lumia 1520.
The handset will have one compelling feature over Nokia’s handset, being an actual pocketable size, and I wonder if this will make any of out readers opt for HTC’s Windows Superphone vs Nokia’s version.
Last week, we reported that Vodafone Australia announced that HTC have told them that they won’t be releasing the WP8 GDR2 update for 8X users. After so many customers got in touch with HTC and Vodafone regarding this update cancellation, HTC has announced that 8X users will be getting GDR3 update in the future.
Good news for owners of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC. After some concerns were raised by some customers regarding ongoing support for your phone, they got in touch to reassure us.
While the bad news is that you won’t be receiving GDR2, the good news is that you’ll be jumping straight to GDR3.
We’ve now updated the table below to reflect that.
We don’t have any timelines just yet, but you’re already looking in the right place to find out once we do. Keep an eye here each Thursday and as soon as we have more info on GDR3 for your Windows Phone 8X it’ll be here for all to read.
While the good news is that HTC 8X users will be getting GDR3 update in the future, but the bad news is that they have to wait for another few months while other OEMs like Nokia have already delivered their GDR2 stuff for their devices.
What do you think of this move from HTC?
Thanks to Brent for the heads up.
While both HTC and Samsung had little to say about the Microsoft/Nokia deal, one of the most promising new Windows Phone OEMs, Huawei, was a little bit more forthcoming.
Speaking to the Financial Times Chen Lifang, a board member of Huawei, said their investment in Windows Phone will not be affected by the recent purchase of Nokia’s handset division by Microsoft.
Having said that, the company continues to simply dip their toe into the Windows Phone pool, and said they remain sceptical about the ability of Windows Phone to challenge the market position of Android.
For those who think Huawei is no big deal, in the same interview Chen clarified the company has no intention to purchase HTC, which I think quite firmly demonstrates how the tables have turned in the smartphone world recently.
Chen added Huawei may introduce a new brand to boost consumer awareness in a further bid to boost sales.
Yesterday’s dramatic news has left both HTC and Samsung without much to say, with both giving noncommittal responses to AllthingsD when approached for comment.
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson is quoted as saying:
"Acquiring Nokia’s Devices group will help make the market for all Windows Phones, from Microsoft or our OEM partners. We collaborate with our Microsoft hardware teams in the same way we partner with our external hardware partners… We look forward to building new products together that will provide valuable business opportunity for the ecosystem and enable OEMs."
Samsung however had no comment, while HTC said “We are assessing the situation and have no comment at this time.”
HTC is widely believed to be working on a Windows Phone version of the HTC One, and one wonders if those plans will still go ahead.
In an interview Joe Belfiore however insisted that there was room for more than Nokia.
“There’s certainly a wide, wide range of innovative things other companies [can do],” he said.
Do our readers think the other OEMs will abandon Windows Phone over the coming months? Let us know below.
The recent Fiddler-based hacks which lets Nokia users get Samsung’s exclusive apps also work pretty well for HTC users to get Nokia’s apps, including surprisingly enough Nokia Pro Camera software, which I would have expected to rely significantly on Nokia-specific changes to their phones.
WindowsBlogItalia have uploaded this video showing the app working pretty well on the platform.
Read their site here for the full instructions.
Sprint recently added HTC 8XT and Samsung Ativ S Neo Windows Phone 8 devices to its lineup. HTC 8XT was launched with a price tag of $99 on 2 years contract and Samsung Ativ S Neo for $149. Within few weeks of the launch, Sprint has reduced the prices of these devices. HTC 8XT is now available for free on 2 years contract and Samsung Ativ S Neo is now available for $49.99 on 2 year contract.
The offer is part of a promotion by Sprint which cover multiple handsets and is only available for buyers who are switching from other carriers.
Check out the listings from the link below.
Source: HTC 8XT, ATIV S Neo via: WPC, thanks Adam for some additional info.
As per a new rumor emerged today, HTC is working on a Windows Phone variant of its flagship device HTC One. HTC was the first OEM to announce a Windows Phone 8 device. Even though both their WP8 devices 8X and 8S are decent units, they didn’t sell well because of poor marketing and Nokia’s dominance in Windows Phone market. The rumored device will have the following specs,
- 4.7 inch 1080p Super LCD 3 screen
- Beats audio
- 2GB of RAM
- 32GB of memory (unlike the 16GB used for the 8X)
Recently, HTC dismissed Digitimes’s report that HTC is leaving the Windows Phone market and said they are absolutely dedicated to their Windows Phone lineup.
When Google’s Motorola announced Moto X, customization was one of the most notable feature. Moto X lets you choose the front, the back, the accents, the wallpaper, and even color matched accessories. HTC planned a similar customization option for Sprint HTC 8XT which was launched last month, but later dropped it due to concerns over cost and complexity concerns.
The Verge reported the following about this program,
The project involved HTC’s 8XT Windows Phone device, with the idea of allowing customers to customize a range of colors on the handset. We’re told that a HTC Design Studio, planned as a web app, would have served as a method for Sprint customers to order a custom 8XT. The Design Studio included color options for speaker, accents, the two-tone highlights, and personal engraving.
Source: The Verge
Digitimes’s sources speculate that after underperforming in Q2 2013 HTC may start throwing their full weight at their Android line and “drift away from Windows Phone”.
According to the IDC HTC only shipped 400,000 Windows Phones in Q2, while Samsung shipped 1 million.
One must remember however that the Digitimes report appears to be based on speculation by unnamed sources, while the IDC’s estimates does not gel very well with data from the likes of AdDuplex which shows HTC’s Windows Phone 8 share holding up much better than Samsung’s (11.5% vs 2%), which would not happen if new handsets were not flowing into the market from HTC.
In short, the report does not seem to be well supported. With HTC having significant issues competing with Samsung on Android, I do not think they can afford not to compete in Windows Phone’s growing market also.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.
Table via AAWP.
If Other Storage is making your HTC Windows Phone feel a bit cramped, HTC’s Make More Space App may relieve the pressure.
The app now supports both the HTC 8S and HTC 8X, and will delete temporary files not properly removed by the operating system.
Find the app in the Windows Phone Store here.
Statements by Microsoft suggest this issue will not be troubling Windows Phone users for long, as Windows Phone GDR2 will be better able to manage these temporary files.