VIA’s S3 graphics arm has had a very stale life of late. No-one’s courting it, no-one’s asking for it and its promising multi-monitor solution was simply ignored. The company has been around for ages making good graphics solutions and even had a card in my old laptop that made games nicely playable. Now its been tossed out like a old hooker who was actually good and her job and didn’t do crack and things have been uncertain for the company since midway through 2011. But it looks like it may have found its sugar daddy in the form of HTC once again.
Previously VIA’s S3 arm was up for sale more than once in 2011. While a lot of companies hummed and haa’d about buying it, HTC’s battles with Apple in the courts made it look like one of the likely candidates. After all, with a VIA chip inside their Android phone they could finally distinguish themselves from the competition performance-wise, possibly beating even Power VGR chips to the performance crown. VIA’s had a lot of experience in making low-voltage embedded systems and this seemed like the perfect fit.
S3 Graphics as a standalone company holds about 270 patents to its name, some of them which could be used in firing back patent spats at Apple and even bringing in some licensing revenue from HTC which has had financial woes in several departments for some time. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all pay royalty fees to S3 and it could give HTC enough leverage that other companies will leave them alone to make good mobiles. HTC announced that its now back on track to complete the merger which could close by the end of the year.
If this brings about a better-performing graphics chip that HTC can use to improve their position in the Android world, then that’s the way they should go.
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