HTC One Uses Nokia Parts, Court Rules, Sending HTC Scrambling

The HTC One uses microphone parts that are made exclusively for Nokia. HTC is now racing to find replacements.

There's more bad news for the HTC One. A court in the Netherlands has ruled that the newest HTC flagship phone uses technology that's dependent on parts that were invented by Nokia and are manufactured exclusively for Nokia, the BBC reported April 23.

Consequently, STMicroelectronics, which sells the parts, won't be able to sell them to anyone but Nokia until March 1, 2014.

According to the report, HTC said that it will "immediately" begin looking for alternative parts.

"HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed," Nokia said in a statement.

It added that the injunction made by the court prevents STMicro from selling the special microphones anywhere, not just in the Netherlands.
"In its marketing materials, HTC claims that its HDR microphone is a key feature for the HTC One, but it is Nokia technology, developed exclusively for use in Nokia products," Nokia continued.

STMicro—which would see sales significantly diminished were it to sell the parts only to struggling Nokia and not HTC, which launched the One as a flagship device intended for 185 operators around the world—intends to appeal the ruling, it told the BBC in a statement.

It also intends to help HTC find an alternative solution.

HTC introduced the One in February, at a New York City event. While it planned a tremendous launch to more than 80 global regions, it quickly ran into a supply-side problem, after the One's unique camera proved trickier and more time-consuming to produce than expected.

While its fiscal 2013 should have marked a turnaround for the phone maker, HTC instead posted its lowest profits since it began reporting them in 2004.

In an April 14 research note, according to TechWorld, J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Alvin Kwock told investors that HTC's supply issues had been addressed, and the firm expects HTC One shipments to rise from March's 300,000 units, to 1.2 million units in April and 2 million units in May.

On April 19 the One became available through AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Costco, Car Toys, Sam's Club, and the HTC Website.

T-Mobile also began offering the One online that day, and will have it in stores April 24.

Cincinnati Bell will also offer the One in the United States. In Canada, Rogers, Bell, Telus and Virgin Mobile have all agreed to back it.

"A new, exciting approach to the smartphone is needed, and with the new HTC One, we have re-imagined the mobile experience from the ground up to reflect this new reality," HTC CEO Peter Chou said in a Feb. 19 statement, introducing the One.

In its statement, Nokia said that the case was just the latest effort to end HTC's "unauthorized use of Nokia's inventions."

It continued, "More than 40 Nokia patents have been asserted against HTC in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. ... Once again, Nokia calls on HTC to compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia."