HTC has been getting some stick from unhappy customers recently, after they found their smartphones – including the TyTN II, Touch Dual, Wings and more – were saddled with under-performing video drivers that caused the handsets to run unpleasantly slow. Frustrating, especially when HTC were using Qualcomm’s MSM7xxx chipset which incorporates ATI’s Imageon hardware acceleration, but not providing the drivers to enable it. Back in January HTC tried to pacify the situation by telling everyone that no, their handsets handle multimedia just fine, and they had no intention of releasing Imageon drivers; unsurprisingly, perhaps, that just riled owners up all the more.
Now there’s news of a software fix on the way, which should “dramatically improve” on-screen rendering and scrolling, together with a scolding for buyers who expect their handset’s functionality to match its hardware capabilities, rather than being happy with what the manufacturer gives them. Check out the full statement from HTC below, and let us know what you think of the company’s stance in the comments.
Some of our top engineers have investigated video performance on our devices and have discovered a fix that they claim will dramatically improve performance for common on-screen tasks like scrolling and the like. Their fix would help most of our recent touch-screen products including the Touch family of devices and TYTN II / Tilt, Mogul / XV6900. The update is in testing and we hope to release it soon.
However this fix is not a new video driver to utilize hardware acceleration; it is a software optimization. Video drivers are a much more complicated issue that involves companies and engineers beyond HTC alone. We do not want to lead anyone to believe they should expect these. To explain why we are not releasing video acceleration instead of the optimization I offer you our official statement…
“HTC DOES plan to offer software upgrades that will increase feature functionality, over the air wireless speeds and other enhancements for some of the phones being criticized, but we do not anticipate including any additional support for the video acceleration issues cited in customer complaints. It is important for customers to understand that bringing this functionality to market is not a trivial driver update and requires extensive software development and time.
HTC will utilize hardware video acceleration like the ATI Imageon in many upcoming products. Our users have made it clear that they expect our products to offer an improved visual experience, and we have included this feedback into planning and development of future products.
To address lingering questions about HTC’s current MSM 7xxx devices, it is important to establish that a chipset like an MSM7xxx is a platform with a vast multitude of features that enable a wide range of devices with varied functionality. It is common that devices built on platforms like Qualcomm’s will not enable every feature or function.
In addition to making sure the required hardware is present, unlocking extended capabilities of chipsets like the MSM 7xxx requires in-depth and time consuming software development, complicated licensing negotiations, potential intellectual property negotiations, added licensing fees, and in the case of devices that are sold through operators, the desire of the operator to include the additional functionality. To make an informed decision about which handset suits them best, consumers should look at the product specification itself instead of using the underlying chipset specifications to define what the product could potentially become.”