SMARTPHONE VENDOR HTC is looking to ST-Ericsson to design processors as it tries to diversify away from Qualcomm.
HTC has a longstanding relationship with Qualcomm but the firm has said it wants to have multiple chip suppliers, and while rivals such as Apple and Samsung already design their own processors, HTC is left largely dependent on vendors. HTC is set to change that by reportedly signing a memorandum of cooperation with ST-Ericsson to develop a chip together.
ST-Ericsson has largely been absent from the high-end smartphone market, however the firm has a big presence in the low-end market and has been a long time supplier to Nokia. Although HTC is unlikely to shun Qualcomm - after all, it is one of the big ARM licensees - the firm has already signed up Nvidia to supply chips for its One line of smartphones.
If HTC is working with ST-Ericsson to develop a chip it will benefit from more than just having greater control over the processor by not having to share its designs with other firms. Given St-Ericsson's experience with low-end phones, it could also signal a forthcoming HTC push into the high volume low-end smartphone market.
HTC's main competitors Apple and Samsung either design or manufacture significant parts of their hardware, and a co-design agreement could help HTC stand out from its significantly larger rivals.
HTC would not comment on the China Times report that it is working with ST-Ericsson. µ