Also – a load of Google app updates, a massively pirated indie game, and a detailed investigation of what you can and can’t have inscribed on your Moto X.
For a company that makes one of the best smartphones currently on the market – Android or otherwise – HTC’s finances and general outlook sure aren’t very rosy. After the firm reported earlier this month that it may post a quarterly loss for the first time since 2008, according to Bloomberg, its stock price plummeted.
Now, the news agency said, three heavyweights from mainland China – specifically, ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei – are said to be interested in acquiring the Taiwanese handset maker, primarily for its smartphone engineering expertise and recognizable brand.
[MORE GOOGLE: Microsoft turns Scroogled into ‘Schoolgled’ in new anti-Google attack ad]
Analysts told Bloomberg that HTC’s decline could be blamed on a number of factors, including a lack of mid-market devices to go with its high-end offerings and costly delays in the release of the critically-heralded HTC One.
Another explanation, however, was offered by a dozen current and former HTC execs, who told Reuters that it’s all the fault of long-time CEO Peter Chou, who sucks.
While they didn’t use that word exactly, of course, the execs (anonymously, of course) painted Chou as a gifted but tyrannical boss, blaming him for a short-sighted corporate culture that failed to build sufficiently robust relationships with parts suppliers. A failure to delegate meaningful authority to more junior executives “damaged morale,” Reuters’ sources said.
Although the complaints about Chou’s style and failure to delegate ring a little bit hollow – it’s easy to picture some malcontent former exec kvetching about not having enough authority – the charge that he didn’t pay enough attention to the company’s supply line sounds fairly damning.
It’s almost certainly an oversimplification to say that HTC’s recent woes are exclusively the fault of Peter Chou, but he’s likely helped put the company in a position where it’s a highly attractive target for acquisition. With the stock price in the toilet and plenty of juicy engineering talent available, a purchase doesn’t sound at all far-fetched.
* Google updated Search, and YouTube this week, in a frenzy of new features for core Android apps.
The standouts are likely YouTube’s new interface – the Android Police story linked above says “it’s like Mathias Duarte has reached down from the sky and graced it with his magic touch” – and the Google Now TV card in the Search app. You can simply say “listen to TV” and your phone will attempt to identify what you’re watching based on an audio sample.
* While we all know Android piracy is an issue, I’ll admit that I didn’t realize it was quite this bad – the developer of well-regarded indie action game Gentlemen! says the title has been downloaded 144 times from the Play Store and pirated more than 50,000. That’s a ratio of about 347 to 1. Kind of pitiful.
Seriously, go get it, if you’re of a mind. It looks wonderfully well-designed, and I’m certainly planning to give it a try.
(H/T: The Verge)
* So it turns out there are limits to the Moto X’s much-vaunted customizeability – Jason Gilbert over at Medium (NSFW language) has an extensive investigation into what Motorola will and will not let you say in the phone’s inscription. The usual suspects are all out, as are the names of rival phone makers – though you can say “iPhone” for some reason.
Why you’d want to have something ribald or explicit written on your phone is something I don’t feel qualified to answer at this point, but please accept my mystified condolences if you’d been hoping that the Moto X was the answer to your profanity-laced prayers.