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HTC issues official statement on HTC devices and ATI Imageon video acceleration hardware

There are few things worse from a technophile’s point of view than plunking down your hard earned cash on a new gadget only to find out later that it doesn’t operate as promised or expected. Things get worse when you try and get the issue fixed and the manufacturer doesn’t acknowledge the issue at all.

This is exactly what owners of some HTC smartphones are claiming. A website has been setup called HTCClassAction.org to try and force HTC and the cellular carriers that sell affected HTC devices to remedy alleged problems with certain devices and video acceleration.

The website claims that the HTC TyTn II, HTC Touch Dual, HTC Touch Cruise, HTC Wings, HTC Titan, HTC Vogue, HTC Libra, and HTC Iris as well as all the other names these phones go by are affected with the same problem. All of these phones are based on the MSM7200 and MSM7500 chipsets. These same chipsets are used by other manufactures whose devices don’t experience the same slowdowns with multimedia content according to some HTC owners.

The crux of the issue some owners are having with these devices is that the phone appears to not take advantage of the integrated ATI Imageon hardware. According to HTCClassAction.org, owners of affected HTC devices are getting mixed messages when they call to complain about slowdowns. Some HTC owners claim that tech support for HTC and their service provider deny knowledge of any issues surround drivers for the Imageon hardware. Some owners have been told by the same tech support departments that the problem is a known issue but isn’t wide spread enough to escalate up to the levels where a fix can be made.

A petition with over 4,000 signatures has is available for signing at PetitionOnline with the goal of getting HTC to fix the apparent lack of driver support for the ATI Imageon video acceleration hardware.

ATI spokesperson Jo Albers had this to say about the issue HTC owners are seeing, “AMD has licensed 3D graphics technology to QUALCOMM for use in select QUALCOMM MSM chipsets. It is up to QUALCOMM to choose in which products they will incorporate and enable this technology, and to which handheld manufacturers those products are sold.”

DailyTech contacted Jason Gordon of HTC USA for an official statement from HTC on the issues HTC owners are having with the MSM7xxx chipsets. The official word from HTC on this issue is:

In response to recent customer complaints about poor video performance on HTC devices based on the latest Qualcomm MSM7xxx chipsets, HTC is providing the following statement.

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 smart phones 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.  

The reason there is no driver for the Imageon video hardware on phones equipped with the MSM7xxx chipsets is that HTC opted to include the chipsets from Qualcomm minus that feature. The confusion for HTC device owners comes from the fact that Qualcomm lists the MSM7500 and MSM7200 chipsets as including the ATI Imageon video acceleration hardware.

However, a quick perusal at HTC of some of the devices listed at HTCClassAction.org reveals that Imageon Video acceleration was never one of the promised features on the devices. HTC simply lists the chipsets that it uses in the phones. However, HTC doesn’t specifically say that it does not include a known feature of the chipsets produced by Qualcomm either.

When DailyTech first received a response from ATI concerning the Qualcomm MSM7xxx chipsets, the quote didn't seem to make sense with regards to the problem since it talked about enabling the Imageon hardware on chipsets that already said the hardware was included. In retrospect ATI apparently knew that not all of the Qualcomm MSM7xxx chipsets enabled the video acceleration hardware, specifically the chipsets in these HTC devices, making the official ATI statement make more sense.

The long and short of the matter for owners of HTC devices using these chipsets is that there will be no fix because HTC chose not to provide Imageon hardware in its devices.





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