It appears that HTC will be joining rivals Apple, Samsung, and Huawei in creating its own internally developed applications processor for its own smartphones. However, unlike its notable rivals, HTC will be reserving its own processor for low-end devices, rather than using the CPUs in high-end flagship models like Samsung’s Exynos rumored for the Galaxy S III or the Huawei quad-core CPU on the company’s own flagship.
According to China Times, HTC had already signed an agreement with ST-Ericsson to co-develop the chipset. Devices with the new chipset are expected in 2013.
It’s unclear why HTC will be developing its own CPU and in particular for the low-end segment. One possible explanation is that HTC’s relationship with Qualcomm may be deteriorating. HTC had used Qualcomm’s processors exclusively for some time now, and when the company had announced a switch to NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 for the quad-core international version of the HTC One X smartphone, there were speculations that the relationship with the chip-maker may be on the rocks.
Given that HTC had historically focused its growth on the high-end smartphone market, the low-end market was largely ignored. By using its own chipset, HTC may be able to control some of the costs to tackle the low-end smartphone market and compete based on performance and pricing, according to Unwired View.
Perhaps, HTC is using the low-end market as a test bed to develop a high-end CPU in the future. Whatever the case, it appears that HTC is trying to control more of the user experience. On the company’s One series of smartphone unveiled late February at Mobile World Congress, HTC announced that the camera uses a special HTC image chip for better performance.