Facebook Working with HTC to Build its Own Smartphone

Rumors of a Facebook phone are bubbling up again. Facebook was supposedly working to launch its own phone around the beginning of 2012, but that didn’t materialize. Apparently, it is working with HTC now to build its own smartphone, and launch it in 2013.

It is developing a “modified operating system” for the device, possibly a heavily customized version of Android, and also continues to focus on its mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Facebook has more than 900 million monthly active users with a lot of them accessing the service via their mobile phones.

It still hasn’t been able to figure out a good way to monetize its growing mobile audience, because of which analysts and investors alike are concerned about its future revenue potential. Its stock price crashed right after it went public on concerns that it might never be able to figure out the mobile monetization puzzle, which, admittedly, is a tough nut to crack.

Facebook’s official statement says:

“Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.”

Facebook has hired some Apple iPhone engineers to work on its phone hardware, and also made some talent acquisitions to work on improving its mobile apps and presumably its mobile OS.

If Facebook ties in its services deeply with its smartphone, and manages to sell a ton of devices, it might be able to generate a significant amount of revenue from mobile advertising, and also reduce its dependence on Apple’s and Google’s devices to generate mobile ad revenue.

via Bloomberg

HTC Desire HD To Not Get Ice Cream Sandwich Update After All!

Bad news HTC Desire HD owners. After quite a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Desire HD’s Ice Cream Sandwich update, HTC has finally come clean and announced that it won’t be updating the handset to Android 4.0.

Here is the official statement from HTC about this -:

After extensive testing, we’ve determined that the current version of HTC Sense with Android provides customers with the best experience on the HTC Desire HD. When we consider new versions of software, we weigh a number of factors, but ultimately the customer experience on the product is the deciding factor. We apologize for any confusion this change may have caused our customers.

The Desire HD was HTC’s ‘hero’ device for 2010, and it is nothing short of disappointing to see the handset not get an OS upgrade that was released just a year after its release. What is more surprising is that the Desire HD’s single core processor and 768MB of RAM are more than enough to run Ice Cream Sandwich smoothly.


The Desire HD can run Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean smoothly. Sony has updated all of its 2011 handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich, and they pack similar specs as that of the Desire HD, except that the latter has more RAM (512MB vs. 768MB). The HTC Incredible S packs the exact same internals as the Desire HD and it tasted Ice Cream Sandwich more than a month ago.

No wonder HTC is losing its customers!

Beats Electronics Buys Back 25% Stake from HTC

HTC acquired a majority stake in Beats Electronics for $300 million last year, as part of a strategic partnership which involved HTC integrating Beats audio technology into its smartphones. Since then, HTC has launched a number of Beats enabled smartphones, not many of which have been very successful. However, it seems that Beats has bought back nearly 25% of its total shares from HTC for around $150 million.

Following the share buyback, Beats now owns around 75% of its total shares while HTC remains the largest external shareholder with a 25% stake.

HTC will continue to have exclusive rights to use Beats audio technology in its phones.

Here’s the official statement:

“HTC and Beats today announced a realignment of their business agreement that provides Beats with more flexibility for global expansion while maintaining HTC’s major stake and commercial exclusivity in mobile.
Under the terms of the agreement, the founding members of Beats will buy back 25% of its total shares for a total of approximately 75% ownership, with HTC remaining the largest outside shareholder with approximately 25%.
Over the last year, HTC and Beats have made great progress in sound innovation, product integration and brand awareness with successes like the HTC One. HTC and Beats will continue to work closely, including a joint global marketing campaign later this year.”

This could be beneficial for both HTC and Beats, as it doesn’t impact HTC’s technology deal much and gives it some cash back, but also provides Beats with the flexibility to expand internationally.

via Engadget

Sprint Announces Android 4.0 ICS Update For HTC EVO 3D And EVO Design 4G

Last year, Sprint launched the HTC’s first 3D smartphone, the HTC EVO 3D. This handset allows you to record 2D videos in full HD (1080p) and 3D videos in HD (720p), thanks to its 5 megapixel dual cameras. HTC EVO 3D was shipped with the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. HTC has already started rolling out the much-awaited Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update for the international variant. However, the HTC EVO 3D owners on Sprint were left behind.

Sprint finally announced the Android 4.0 update for the HTC EVO 3D smartphone. This update will bring the usual ICS goodies along with numerous enhancements and new features. Sprint has also confirmed the Android 4.0 update for the HTC EVO Design 4G smartphone. If you own one of these devices, then check out the complete changelog below.

htc evo 3d


  • A refined, evolved user interface that is simple, beautiful and useful
  • Face Unlock: use state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with a smile
  • Redesigned camera app which introduces scenes like Panorama and effects such as Vignette, Depth of Field, Vintage and Posterize
  • Web browser now lets you sync Google Chrome bookmarks, request full desktop versions of sites and see your open tabs in a new layout
  • People: browse friends, family and coworkers, see their photos in high-resolution and check their latest status updates from Google+
  • Improved keyboard with incredibly accurate typing, an inline spell checker and improved copy and paste support
  • Redesigned Gmail app that lets you swipe between conversations to catch up quickly and search for emails even without a data connection
  • Google+ integration that lets you hangout and video chat with up to 10 friends using your front-facing camera

HTC EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G owners will get this update starting from early-August. This update will be available via OTA (Over-The-Air). You will be automatically notified when the update is available for your device. Even though, HTC EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G won’t get the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, the owners of these handset will at least have something better than nothing.

HTC Desire HD Ice Cream Sandwich Update Cancelled?

The HTC Desire HD was the Taiwanese company’s flagship handset for the 2nd half of 2010. Even by 2012 standards, the phone has a pretty spec sheet with a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 768MB of RAM, and oodles of storage space. When HTC  released its Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade road-map for its devices earlier this year, it stated that the Desire HD should taste ICS sometime in late Q3 of this year.

However, things might have taken a turn for the bad, as according to an updated TELUS document the Desire HD Ice Cream Sandwich update has been cancelled. The TELUS document states that “HTC has cancelled the HTC Desire HD ICS upgrade due to poor device performance during testing.”

The 1GHz Snapdragon processor + 768MB of RAM are more than enough to make sure ICS runs smoothly on the Desire HD. The Incredible S, which packs similar internals as the Desire HD, tasted Ice Cream Sandwich a few weeks ago. The only reason HTC could have cancelled the ICS update for the handset would be due to the investment involved.

HTC still has not officially announced anything whether the ICS update for the handset has been cancelled or not, so there is still some hope left for Desire HD owners.

Via – MobileSyrup

Sprint Rolling Out Software Updates For EVO 4G LTE And Motorola Photon 4G

Sprint recently rolled out a couple of software updates for the popular HTC EVO 4G LTE and Motorola Photon 4G smartphones. Google Wallet service on the EVO 4G LTE was broken from the day one. Thankfully, the latest update fixes this issue. On the other hand, the software update for Motorola Photon 4G brings support for full HD (1080p) video recording and playback.

The latest update for EVO 4G LTE is numbered 1.22.651.3 and it comes with important enhancements and fixes for Google Wallet, Wifi disconnect issue, time zone issue and much more. The Motorola Photon 4G software update brings enhancements for WiFi hotspot, improved music playback and so on. Check out the complete changelog after the break.


HTC EVO 4G LTE Update:

Description of enhancements/fixes:

  • Google security updates
  • Wifi disconnect issue
  • Time zone issue
  • Google Wallet fix
  • Side loaded video pause issue
  • Random power cycling issue
  • Pioneer Bluetooth Car Kit connection issu
  • Gallery app crash
  • Calendar reminder (all day even time) issue

Motorola Photon 4G Update

  • More easily import contacts from SD card.
  • Improved music playback, both streaming from Amazon Cloud or Internet Radio services and music saved to the phone – minimizes occasional skips or -repeats
  • Enhancements for WiFi hotspot in GSM/UMTS mode and adding new WiFi connections.
  • Now supports 1080p HD video capture, and enhanced video settings for more responsive playback.
  • Easier creating and accepting calendar meeting notices on the phone.

The size of the update for HTC EVO 4G LTE is just 42 MB. These updates will be easily available via Over-The-Air (OTA). You will be automatically notified when the update is available for your device. If you have not received the update, then just go to Home > Applications > Settings > About Device > System updates and check for the update.

Samsung Profits Jump To $5.9 Billion While HTC Manages A Measly $247 Million

Back when Android was still gaining traction in the mobile market, HTC was the Android OEM manufacturer to reckon with. Thanks to Android’s ever growing popularity, HTC had a monumental growth and posted some staggering profits back in late-2009 and 2010.

However, things changed drastically in 2011 as HTC failed to launch a remarkable device, and Samsung won the heart of million of owners thanks to its Galaxy S II. HTC is trying hard to save its plunging profits and market share by releasing the One series earlier this year. However, it looks like things still have not favored the Taiwanese maker.

In an unaudited Q2, 2012 report released by the company, HTC managed to make a profit of only $247.7 million down from a whopping $582.5 million in the same quarter in previous year. The only silver lining here is that compared to the Q1 profit of $150 million, a near about $100 million jump in profit definitely looks good. Revenue for the quarter was around $3 million.

On the other hand, Samsung has released partial financial report of Q2, and the numbers are staggering. The Korean company has had a record quarter and amassed nearly $5.9 billion in profits, all thanks to the strong sales of its Galaxy series of handsets. The company, however, expressed concerns over the weak euro and how it has been eating into its profits.

“Europe is our biggest consumer electronics market and we may have to initiate cost cuts and product price increases should the euro fall further from the current level,” said one executive who didn’t want to be named as the plan is internal.

“Our smartphones are flying off the shelves, with some outlets reporting 40-60 percent sales growth, but that’s distorting the overall trading outlook which is more challenging due to the weak global economy and a weak euro.”

With the Galaxy S III just hitting the U.S shores, Samsung is all set for another record-breaking Q3, while HTC can just hope its profit does not plummet further.

Via – Reuters

Verizon Droid Incredible 4G Coming On July 5th For $149

After unveiling the Droid Incredible 4G LTE more than a month ago, Verizon and HTC have finally announced a released date and price-tag for the handset. The Incredible 4G LTE, which is a re-branded HTC One S, at least from the inside.

Like the One S, the Droid Incredible 4G LTE packs in a 1.2GHz Qualcomm S4 processor, an Adreno 25 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. Unlike the One S though, the Incredible 4G LTE packs a smaller 4-inch qHD (960*640) resolution touting LCD screen. Other features of the Incredible 4G LTE include a microSD card slot, GPS with A-GPS, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack, an 8MP Backlit Sensor with F/2.2 aperture size and 28mm lens aided by a Smart LED flash along with a front-facing camera.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE might not be sporting HTC’s One tag or a ImageSense logo, but it will be sporting a Beats Audio logo, which definitely goes with the handset’s red-ful look. The handset will be hitting Verizon’s 4G LTE network on July 5th, and will cost $149 after a $50 mail-in rebate on a two-year contract.

HTC Incredible S Tastes Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

HTC has started rolling out the Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich update for Incredible S owners in quite a few regions of the world.  Incredible S owners should consider themselves lucky that their phone has got the official Ice Cream Sandwich update before a dual-core phone from HTC, the EVO 3D.

While the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Incredible S will bring with it quite a lot of new features and enhancements, what it will not bring is all the visual goodness that Google had introduced. Instead, HTC has loaded the update for the S with Sense 3.6 that makes sure users will not get a taste of the UI changes in ICS.

The official update is rolling out in certain regions of Europe via OTA. The update will take some time to show up for the branded or carrier-locked variants of the Incredible S, including the Verizon’s Droid Incredible 2.

HTC has not announced anything officially whether the Incredible S will get the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update or not. Considering how small the Android 4.1 update is and the Incredible S hardware, it should in a perfect world get the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update.

Virgin Mobile Launches HTC One V In The US For $199.99

HTC One V was announced along with its big brothers, the HTC One X and HTC One S at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. The One X and One S is already available for purchase in the US. However, the launch of this smartphone was delayed. Last month, HTC announced that the HTC One V will available for purchase from a variety of carriers in the summer of 2012. Today, Virgin Mobile went ahead and finally launched the HTC One V for its subscribers in the US.

Jeff Auman, vice president, Virgin Mobile USA, said,
“This terrific handset for under $200, combined with our no-contract Beyond Talk unlimited data and messaging plans starting at $35 per month, is an ideal alternative to postpaid offers and to other smartphones on the market. ‘A Higher Calling’ demands that we continue to expand our already stellar smartphone lineup, and we’re delighted to add this device from the HTC One series.”

HTC One V features a 3.7 inch touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1 GHz single-core processor, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, HTC Sense 4 UI, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 3G Connectivity and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB internal memory, Beats Audio, Bluetooth 4.0, 25 GB DropBox cloud storage, A-GPS, up to 7.2 hours of talktime, up to 10 days of stand-by time and a 1500 mAh battery. This handset measures 120.3mm x 59.7mm x 9.24mm and weighs just 115 grams.

The HTC One V is available for just $199.99. This handset can be used with Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk plans starting at just $35 per month. It offers 300 minutes, unlimited messaging and unlimited data. You can easily get this handset from Virgin Mobile’s online store as well as from your local retailer. On the other hand, national retailers such as Best Buy, RadioShack and Walmart will start selling this device from July. To get this handset right now, head over to this page.