Monday, April 22, 2013

Nokia - goes after HTC for Appropriating Its HAAC Microphone Tech

Back in early March, we heard HTC boasting about how great the microphone was on the HTC One, capable of some pretty impressive dynamic range, capturing quite and loud sounds alike. At the time, we noted how similar these claims sounded to what Nokia had been saying about its own High Amplitude Audio Capture system employed on models like the Lumia 920. Well, apparently we weren’t the only ones who noticed this, and Nokia itself decided to check out just what HTC was working with. What it ended up finding has ultimately led to Nokia applying for and being granted a preliminary injunction against HTC continuing to receive microphone components; what happened here?
As it turns out, the HTC One appears to contain the same microphone Nokia uses in its phones. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal – plenty of smartphones share SoCs and radio chips, for example – except that Nokia was fundamental in the development of this part, which was supposed to be produced solely for the company’s own use.
While full details aren’t yet available, it seems that ST Microelectronics may have overstepped its authority and sold these microphones to HTC on the side. In response to Nokia’s legal action, HTC writes, “HTC is disappointed in the decision. We are considering whether it will have any impact on our business and we will explore alternative solutions immediately.” Perhaps tellingly, here HTC doesn’t seem to actually dispute Nokia’s allegations.

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