Verifying a rumor put out by BGR over a month ago, HTC has announced after a dismal end to 2011 (net profits fell 26% last quarter) that the company will be changing its handset strategy to focus on fewer, "hero" devices in the coming year. The problem of excessive handset iteration is one I've opined on before. It is a problem, and while it's unlikely that HTC's balance sheet woes were even in majority caused by the large number of handsets they released, making fewer models is certainly a way to cut costs and increase the amount of attention that goes into each product.
|David Ruddock||David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
A recent Newsweek article has been making the rounds claiming, through an unnamed Apple "insider," that Apple has spent north of $100 million litigating its various grievances against HTC since late 2010. Verifying the accuracy of this number is pretty much impossible. But that doesn't really matter. It may just as well be $80 million, $150 million, or $300 million - the conclusion drawn would remain the same: Apple is spending quite a chunk of income on its growing lawsuit habit.
This a cause I think we can all get behind. Back in 2010, the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress issued a rulemaking statement exempting smartphones and DVDs from reverse engineering laws under the DMCA. Previously, companies like Apple had used these provisions to threaten criminal prosecution (as well as civil action) against those who "jailbroke" (rooted) devices such as the iPhone (or iPad). The exemption to these penalties put in place by the Copyright Office extended to the "jailbreaking" (or, as we know it in the Android community, rooting) of all smartphones (it also extends to things like bootloader unlocking).
Now, we're an Android blog and all, but we aren't exactly deaf to the seemingly never-ending corporate death-curdle that is Research in Motion. As we speak, the tech world is watching (halfway out of actual interest, half for sheer entertainment value) as the once seemingly immovable enterprise titan rolls, like a god on high fallen from Olympus, to the bottom of a mountain called Relevancy.
The story of that tumble can be told, foot by foot, from the day of the iPhone launch.
If you were part of the PC gaming scene in the late 1990's and early 2000's, you almost certainly played Counter-Strike at some point. It was the online first-person shooter (of course, Doom III was around as well), and was essentially a modified runtime of Valve's popular sci-fi FPS Half-Life. Later iterations of the game like Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source lacked the magic which made the first game so addictive, and so the series has essentially been undergoing a slow death over the last few years.
When I read the comments of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in an interview with The Daily Beast, my first thought was "this sounds like an eminently reasonable man making some well-reasoned points." Of course, being an Android site, we took interest in Wozniak's comments on Android's superior (in some respects) voice commands, as well as his praise of its workable built-in navigation solution (something iOS currently lacks outright).
I've used Siri.
Late yesterday, we got a chance to spend some time with the Motorola DROID 4 over at the Verizon booth here at CES, and we have to say - It sure seems like Motorola has done it again. The DROID 4 will likely once again set the bar for QWERTY slider phones, and thanks to the addition of 4G LTE and a snappy TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor (the same one found in the DROID RAZR), it's also going to be the fastest DROID yet.
It's finally happening - Intel processors are coming to Android phones, for better or for worse (we tend to think it's going to be the former). The world's first Intel smartphone? The Lenovo K800. But the real question is, is it actually going to be any good? Judging by the short time we spent with the device earlier today, the answer is a pretty emphatic "nope." The device in question has a 1280x720 4.5" display, 1.6GHz Z2460 Atom processor (single core with hyperthreading), and an 8MP camera.
We stopped by the Sony booth earlier this morning at CES, and got some hands-on time with the very first Sony smartphones (Sony-Ericsson is no more, subject to regulatory approval) - the Xperia Ion and the Xperia S. While these devices were designed before the Sony Ericsson breakup, they'll be marketed as Sony devices when they hit retail channels.
First up is the Xperia Ion, announced a couple of days ago by AT&T.
Wow - Motorola's Sanjay Jha and Intel just announced that the two companies have entered into a strategic partnership to combine forces to deliver new Medfield-based mobile devices to the US market, with actual devices finalized by this summer, and availability shortly thereafter (subject to carrier approval). This is probably the most exciting thing we've heard all day.
Motorola has had a fairly long-standing relationship with Texas Instruments (along with a couple brief collaborations with NVIDIA).