Word is going around that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC is cooperating with ST-Ericsson to develop a smartphone processor that may start shipping in volume sometime next year. While HTC traditionally makes high-end smartphones, this new chip will be aimed at the lower-end, enabling the firm to compete with relatively cheap devices from Samsung, ZTE and Huawei.
It seems that HTC is getting increasingly unhappy with Qualcomm, which powered most of HTC devices until this year. They have signaled their unhappiness in early February, and may even consider Qualcomm one of the reasons for the sales problems of the last few months. HTC has already added NVIDIA to its application processor supplier list –quad core Tegra 3 is powering non U.S. version of the new One X flagship. But it has yet to diversify on the lower end.
Turning to ST-Ericsson and co-developing its own, cheaper CPU, may also be a way for HTC to start moving down market with lower priced devices. Up until now – HTC was mostly focused on a premium high-end smartphones, pretty much ignoring the low-end of the market. But as component prices get cheaper, and ever better quality Android devices are released at ever lower price points by Samsung, ZTE and Huawei – Taiwanese vendor has to find a way to respond.