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STATEMENT: HTC replies to the Community regarding video issues
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 23.01.08 - 09:44:34 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 12936x
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In 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 affected 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 hardware.

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 not used.
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


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Posted by Mr Angry on 23.01.08 - 13:33:34

The point you are missing, and the thing that I suspect has most Tytn II upgraders upgrades riled is that the ATI Imageon driver was present in the Tytn, therefore the Tytn II is actually less capable in someways than the Tytn. 

I think its a reasonable expectation that the Imageon support would have been continued.

If HTC can make it work in the Tytn, it cant be that hard to get it to work in the Tytn II and other phones using the same chipset.

Sounds like either HTC can't be bothered to give their loyal customers the service they deserve.

Posted by Arne Hess on 23.01.08 - 14:53:27

You forget that the HTC Hermes (HTC TyTN) was based on the Samsung SC32442A ARM CPU, not on a Qualcomm MSM7xxx with different ARM cores.
And that's what I tried to explain: It doesn't matter if it was part of a previous product with a different CPU since the integration of a new CPU requires new drivers, new work, etc.
Therefore we cannot expect that a follower has the same features and more.

Last but not least I have neither found a reference on AMD's nor on Samsung's CPU pages, that the HTC Hermes took advantage of the ATI Imageon. Not sure how up-to-date AMD's Imageon page is but the HTC Hermes isn't listed there at all.

Posted by Asby on 24.01.08 - 00:26:41

What I personally am angry about is that HTC promised a "rich multimedia experience", doesn't deliver enough of that even to make TomTom run smoothly, and now replies that "yeah, well, we never said it was there and it's still a good phone and screw you guys, we're going home".

Legally, they're probably in the clear enough that they don't have to worry.
But improper advertising? Oh yes. Screwing the customer? With a smile on their faces.

Posted by Mr Angry on 24.01.08 - 13:44:47

I didnt miss your point about Qualcomm vs Samsung chips, my arguement still applies.

If Samsung (or ATI) could supply an Imageon driver 2 years ago, then to my mind the only reason HTC havent done it on the Qualcomm products is either they are too lazy or that they arent prepared to put pressure on Qualcomm to do so.

Either way its shoddy treatment of loyal customers.

BTW - Core Media Player for sure uses the Imageon driver on my Tytn.

Posted by jakk on 25.01.08 - 12:43:42

Owning a htc Touch Dual I'm also part of this story and I wonder why scrolling a page with a few UI-controls on it in PIE is juddering soo painfully. So as HTCClassAction tries to make clear:

It has nothing to do with a 'rich media experience' as HTC want everybody to think, the issue is slowing down every screen-painting-process and therefore the whole device.
Especially when it comes to scrolling, I guess my old Magician(!) beats the Dual out.

Not nice HTC, this will cost you customers.

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