Fast approaching the size of major international brand vendors, smartphone maker HTC said it expects to ship upwards of 6.5 million handsets in the third quarter of 2010. If HTC reaches its goal -- and there's every reason to believe the company will -- it will represent a 132 percent increase from the same quarter one year ago.
HTC's rise as a dominant handset maker has come seemingly overnight. The reason, says company CFO Cheng Hui-ming, is that HTC thrived largely as a niche player, riding the waves of a single hot product every year. In more recent times, HTC has been able to pump out several popular smartphones simultaneously, and that's made all the difference in the world.
As Cheng sees it, HTC will continue to be a major force rather than this being a temporary upswing in shipments. The company plans to increase monthly capacity at both its Taoyuan and Shanghai plants to two million and one million units, respectively, in 3Q10, Cheng said.
According to reports, T-Mobile's historic G1 is no longer for sale. We can call it historic, right? After all, the G1 ranks as the world's first Android handset in mass form, and it was the first to truly challenge Apple's magical iPhone as the must-have smartphone, at least before Jobs and company fluxored the antennae and challenged themselves.
Perhaps more importantly, the G1 solidified Google's Android OS as a bona fide mobile platform, one that is now found on dozens of other smartphones and is arguably the fastest growing OS on the market right now. The Android Market now sits at over 70,000 apps strong, getting ever closer to that 100,000 milestone. And it all started with the G1.
Hit the jump to find out why I'm not too terribly broken up to see the G1 go.
The rumors have been flying for a while now, but HTC has finally officially confirmed that they will be moving to Super LCD screen in some existing AMOLED-sporting phones. The two models listed are the HTC Desire, and the Google Nexus One. Oddly, the very similar HTC Droid Incredible was not mentioned. All these phones currently ship with 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreens, but Samsung (the maker of the AMOLED panels) has been unable to keep up with demand.
AMOLED screens do not use a backlight, are thinner, and generally perform better than regular LCDs. HTC is claiming that the Super LCDs they will be using actually perform better than AMOLED, and have better battery life. This seems like a tall order to us. The screen size and resolution will probably remain the same after the change. Even if the new Super LCDs don't quite match an AMOLED in color vibrancy, they will likely perform better in direct sunlight. Have you ever seen one of these rare Super LCD displays? Let us know what you thought of it.
Young Brian Maupin of Kansas City made a hilarious video on YouTube that over a million people viewed (check out the vid here). The only problem is that Brian also works at Best Buy, and Best Buy has no sense of humor. The videos in question poke a little fun at Apple and the iPhone. Best Buy feels the video disparages a product that it sells, as well as the electronics retailer itself. Heaven forbid your employees have opinions about gadgets that they express in their spare time. Brian is now suspended indefinitely and is probably on the way to unemployment.
The most popular video has a customer at "Phone Mart" insisting that the only phone he (or she, the cartoon is indistinct) wants is the iPhone. Even after being told the Evo 4G could print money and grant wishes, the customer still wanted the iPhone because it has "the Wi-Fis". The weird thing here is that the videos say nothing about Best Buy, and Brian does not announce himself as a Best Buy employee. Indeed, the only connection Best Buy has to these videos is the one it has created for itself by perusing this. Maupin is taking the whole thing in stride saying, " I see it all as a blessing in disguise. I’ve wanted to start my career in graphic design/animation for so long, I see this as my kick in the pants to go get it."
Brian suspects Best Buy figured out who he was by digging through his other videos, which he removed at Best Buy's request. He refused to remove the Evo vs iPhone video as it had nothing to do with Best Buy. We wish him the best in his future video endeavors, and shake our collective fist at Best Buy.
The latest tale involving third-party ROM sites has HTC huffing and puffing and threatening to blow Shipped-ROMs.com's site down, or at least hit the site owners in the wallet if they don't comply with a cease and desist order. That's what Shipped-ROMs is saying, anyway, who posted what they claim is the exact letter they received from HTC.
"It is our understanding that you are responsible for the hosting of an internet webpage located at http://shipped-roms.com," the letter states. "HTC has also recently learned that the Site contains software/ROM related to HTC's Intellectual Property which entails illegal copying of HTC's original art work.
"We have very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means. The subject dissemination and publication of HTC's Intellectual Property is in clear violation of HTC's legal rights and is an infringement of the HTC's copyrights, goodwill, as well as the other intellectual rights. The continuing distribution of HTC's Intellectual Property without authorization has constituted a serious criminal offense under the Copyright Act in the U.S. and the EU and other countries where similar laws are enforced."
The site in question contains ROMs for a whole host of popular HTC handsets, and what's most interesting about this is that HTC takes exception to copying the "original art work." HTC didn't go on to clarify what exactly has their undergarments in a bunch, whether it's simply the design of the GUI, or the entire ROM. Either way, best of luck in trying to squash the third-party ROM development community, HTC, because if that's your goal, you're going to need it.
Numbers are hard. Either that, or someone over at Sprint-Nextel wasn't paying very close attention when tallying up the number of HTC Evo 4G smartphones sold at launch. Maybe both.
"We originally reported that the total number of HTC Evo 4G devices sold on launch day was three times the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined. We inadvertently erred in the comparison," Sprint said in a statement.
After carrying the 1 and correcting any other mathematical errors that were made, Sprint now says that the actual number of HTC Evo 4G devices sold on launch day was in line with the two other above-mentioned smartphones. Even still, that's not all bad if the real numbers from the first weekend come out to 150,000 as some analysts have estimated.
As a consequence of having a really stellar launch, the HTC EVO 4G cause a little havoc for video chat service Qik. The fine folks at Qik are partnering with Sprint to offer video calling on the EVO. Little did they know EVO users would bombard their servers with roughly 20 times the usual traffic. As you can imagine, the servers went down in a big way.
The situation got so bad that the app had to be pulled from the Android Market. Qik promised the app would be back up soon. However, users that managed to get the app before it was removed are still being met with connection failures and overall poor quality of service. Luckily, the EVO is able to use other apps for video including Fring for Android.
We hope they've got a rainy day fund to buy more servers. EVOs aren't likely to stop selling any time soon. Are there any EVO users out there that have had trouble finding or using Qik?
The much anticipated EVO 4G was released today, and it looks like it's already gotten its first OTA update. The update appears to clean up a few problems in the shipping ROM. Perhaps the biggest fix on board here is a modification that clears up a user file permission error that prevented some users from writing to the MicroSD card.
Also in the ROM update are a number of small security tweaks. The reported effect of which is that the recently worked out root method has been broken. There will most likely be more, and if the guys behind the root are to be believed, there are plenty more vulnerabilities in the ROM. It's nice to see such quick action to solve the SD card issue. It usually takes weeks for OTA patches to be put together for Sense phones. HTC Hero users on Sprint waited weeks for an update to fix text messaging related battery drain issues.
Did you rush out and get an EVO today? What's the verdict?
You may remember a few months back when Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. The case centered mostly around HTC's Android phones. Long story short, it looked a little grim for the relatively young HTC, though it will still likely take years for the case to run its course. But now HTC is coming out swinging, and has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Apple for infringing five of their patents. HTC has asked the ITC to ban imports of the iPhone, iPad , and iPod Touch. This is a common request in these cases.
According to GIzmodo (though not yet confirmed), two of the patents are related to power management, two are for personalized phone dialers, and one is for a dialer with special memory access. Apple threw everything they had at HTC, and by comparison this is small potatoes. It could be HTC is attempting to extract a cross-licensing deal from Apple, or just get them to call it a day. No corresponding federal lawsuit has been filed as of yet, but that could be coming too. We'll keep an eye on this one folks.
It was just a few months ago that Sprint got in on the Android action by claiming they too would be selling Google's superphone, the Nexus One. Now in the wake of Verizon's decision not to support the handset, Sprint too is nixing plans to allow it on their network. And just like that, the dream of a CDMA Nexus One was dead.
Sprint said when asked about the cancellation, they would be focusing on the upcoming HTC EVO 4G instead. Much as Big Red decided to avoid self-competition and focus on the HTC Incredible. The EVO 4G is looking like a nice handset though. It will pack a 4.3-inch LCD touch screen, 8MP camera, WiMAX data, and HTC's Sense UI with Android 2.1. This is currently the newest build of Android, but Google may push out an update for stock Android that makes the EVO seem out of date.
CDMA carriers have more control over the phones that run on their network than GMS carriers do. Traditionally, CDMA phones have to be registered via an IMEI number, so it's no problem to simply refuse to support a phone. On GSM networks an activated SIM card can work in almost any GSM phone.
While it is true that Sense UI phones like the EVO 4G have to wait longer for OS updates, there aren't a lot of other reasons to hold off for Stock Android. Was anyone out there waiting on the Sprint Nexus?