HTC, Novatek rumored to secure orders from Amazon

By Kathryn Chiu ,The China Post

HTC was recently rumored to be collaborating with on smartphones against Apple and Google, while IC design house Novatek Microelectronics has secured orders for panel driver ICs for use in Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. Taiwan’s HTC Corp. declined to comment Wednesday on a report that Inc., the world’s largest online retailer, plans to develop three smartphones with HTC to compete against Apple Inc. and Google Inc. One of the devices being discussed by the two companies is “at an advanced stage of development,” the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the project. Another source said the timetable to launch the phone had been changed, and Amazon might decide not to release the device, the report said. The new phone is not likely to be launched this year but in 2014 if Amazon does decide to continue the project, the report said. Asked to comment, HTC said in an email reply to Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency that “HTC doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.” The news came at a time when HTC is seeking other vehicles to drive sales after posting a net loss of NT$2.97 billion (US$101 million), or NT$3.58 per share, in the third quarter, its first-ever quarterly loss as a public company. Novatek has secured orders for panel driver ICs for use in Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet, according to a report from CNA. Citing iFixIt’s teardown analysis, the report indicated the Kindle Fire HDX employs two Novatek solutions dubbed NT50169B and NT71392QG. Amazon continues to use an LG Display panel for its new Kindle Fire model, the report said. In other news, Novatek has announced September consolidated revenues of NT$3.65 billion (US$124 million), up 1.4 percent on-month and 0.9 percent on-year. Consolidated sales for the first nine months of 2013 totaled NT$30.84 billion, rising 17.1 percent from a year earlier.

HTC Q4 Revenue Expected to Decline 11 Percent Y-o-Y Despite Tuesday’s launch of the 5.9-inch HTC One Max in China, some analysts did not believe the phablet will revive HTC’s sales in the fourth quarter, saying the company is likely to ship fewer than 1 million units of the phone this year amid stiff competition. C.K. Cheng, a Taipei-based analyst at CLSA Ltd., said there was “no surprise” in terms of the launch timing and the specifications of the HTC One Max, which is aimed at competing with Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Note series. “The real differentiator is the addition of a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, following the lead of the iPhone 5S,” he wrote in a research note on Tuesday. “However, without the support of the iTunes ecosystem, we suspect the One Max’s fingerprint function will have far fewer applications than that of the iPhone 5S,” said Cheng, who rated the stock a “sell.” The analyst forecast that HTC’s fourth-quarter revenue will decline 11 percent from the previous quarter and drop 30 percent from a year ago, based on checks with HTC’s supply chain that point to “a pretty disappointing component build plan” for the October-December period.