HTC has acquired California-based graphics company S3 from VIA for US$300m; effectively purchasing a portfolio of around 235 patents (mostly graphics related) - as well as a cool looking logo. With HTC’s ongoing legal battle with Apple, S3’s recent win against Apple over two patent infringements will definitely help ease tension within HTC.
Don’t remember S3 (more on Wikipedia) during the early Desktop Wars? A quick recap: These guy’s were leaders in the 2D accelerator graphics space before being pushed out by 3Dfx and NVIDIA when we started to prefer 3D cubes over 2D squares (Matrox was another one that ‘lost’). S3’s graphics division was soon spun off and purchased by VIA in 2000 as S3 Graphics where their technology become an integrated solution and now used in Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation machines today.
Was litigation prevention a strong enough motivator for this purchase? HTC has been doing well in the Mobile Wars; recent revenue results beat analyst estimates for a third straight quarter, with net income more than doubling to NT$17.5B (HTC climbs 3.3% on the TSE: Google Finance Chart).
Fighting for Android users against powerhouse Korean competitors from the East, and smartphone users against Apple from the West - HTC will be looking for ways to survive.
Let’s see what else they’ve been investing in:
- Digital Multimedia: Purchased Saffron Digital US$48.6M (Techcrunch)
- Cloud Gaming: Invested US$40M in Onlive (Engadget)
(Ok, break from this wall of text and check out this Onlive presentation)
- Online Music: Purchases Taiwanese KKBOX for $10M (Cens.com)
HTC’s plan of attack appears to be a little clearer. Without a solid in-home consumer product (TV, STB, etc.) it makes sense to try and monetize on services that deliver entertainment effortlessly to any device with a connection - “cloud services”. The advantage of an HTC device would likely be easier access to these services (see Engadget’s review of the HTC Flyer).
Apple has iTunes and AppStore, Samsung has Media Hub and Readers Hub; HTC is only catching up - but they’re catching up fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more purchases from HTC.
(a few weeks ago) looking around for other ‘cool’ things to do with my rooted android phone, i found a nice little app that added wireless tethering to my motoroi. grossly simplified, any WiFi-capable device (like your iPod touch, or latest HD camcorder) can now connect to the web using my phone’s 3G data plan.
“this is gonna be awesome”, and it was for about 5 minutes.
installing the app didn’t take too long at all. very quickly, i was able to experience the wonder that is wireless tethering. the only problem was, there wasn’t much i couldn’t do already with my android device.
email? search the web for info? tweets? for most use-cases there’s an app for android already (heck, there’s even a no-frills photoshop available for free) - and in some cases, i find these apps to offer a better user experience than its desktop equivalent.
sure - employees on the go who urgently need to collaborate on a new client deck, or PSP extreme-gamers who must maintain their top score on PSN will find this capability a godsend. however i am yet to find a daily, personal use for this cool capability.
perhaps i could charitably offer unused data to those around me when i visit beaches and subways that haven’t already been flooded by carrier WiFi, or to caffeine addicted writers at wifi-less cafes. but my body rarely traverses space that isn’t already filled with different bandwidths of communication.
i still have wireless tethering installed, though. just in case.