the recent days you might have
read about a so
called video issue of the latest Qualcomm chip-based HTC 3G devices which even
includes a possible class action against HTC Corp. because -
according to the
initiators - HTC's
devices aren't fulfilling what they are (theoretically) able to provide.
As a matter of fact, all the trouble is about the Qualcomm MSN7xxx chipset and
the missing support of ATI's Imageon video acceleration hardware, which is
physically part of the Qualcomm chip, a all-in-one chip solution which also
takes care about WWAN, WLAN, Bluetooth GPS and camera functionalities (just to
name a few). Now, since some websites picked-up the story and reported about it,
HTC felt it's time to reply to the community to let them know more:
HTC is committed to delivering a portfolio of devices that offer a wide
variety of communication, connectivity and entertainment functionality. HTC does
not offer dedicated or optimized multimedia devices and can confirm that its
Qualcomm MSM7xxx-based devices do not use ATI's Imageon video acceleration
HTC believes the overall value of its devices based on their combination of
functionality and connectivity exceeds their ability to play or render
high-resolution video. These devices do still provide a rich multimedia
experience comparable to that of most smartphones and enable a variety of audio
and video file formats.
HTC values its customers and the overall online community of mobile device
enthusiasts and fans. HTC plans to include video acceleration hardware in future
video-centric devices that will enable high-resolution video support.
Okay, what does it mean? As a matter of fact, HTC confirmed that its
Qualcomm-based MSM7xxx devices includes the hardware parts of ATI's Imageon
video acceleration but this is neither used nor supported by the
hardware/software combination of the affected devices.
Take it this way - if you buy a PC and someone put in a Nvidia GeForce graphic
card but hasn't installed the required driver, it's physically there but not
used; so you cannot take benefit of the graphic card.
It's the same with all the components on the Qualcomm MSM7xxx chip, including
WWAN, WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS , Imageon, etc.: If there is no driver available,
physically - on the hardware layer - the feature theoretically exists but it's
Now, with Windows Mobile as the operating system - it's not that easy to enable,
use and activate these kind of features which might exists on the hardware
level. While Microsoft delivers the core OS, the ODM and all its suppliers have
to integrate all components into the package. Sometimes it can be done with a
simple stand-alone driver on top of the OS, sometimes it needs a way deeper
integration into the core or even a modification of the core. And sometimes you
have to add an additional antenna to make use of such a feature (for instance
Bluetooth or GPS). This means that not all hardware features, which might be
available on a chip, are used in the device.
HTC has decided not to use/support the Imageon feature with its current line
of affected devices. This might be a bad decision (improved performance is
always appreciated) but it's the fact. And while
HTC's and Qualcomm's joint press release from September 5th might imply that
HTC devices takes benefit of the Qualcomm MSM7xxx features, HTC devices also
not having 8 megapixel cameras today:
The MSM7xxx-series chipsets from Qualcomm are the industry's first to
integrate two distinct processors - each dedicated to modem and multimedia
functions - to provide support for third-party operating systems, including
Windows Mobile. The MSM7500 for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A and MSM7200 for HSPA
also feature rich multimedia capabilities - such as VGA video encode/decode, 8
megapixel camera, and 3D graphics - as well as advanced data functionality with
unsurpassed levels of integration. The MSM7xxx-series of Qualcomm chipsets are
designed to expand the reach of compelling, connected Smartphone devices into
mainstream consumer markets.
It's just Qualcomm's description of what its MSM7xxx chips can provide but
HTC never said its devices are taking the full benefit of the chip today.
To cut a long story short: The chip could do more but the more isn't
supported by the device(s).
Cheers ~ Arne