HTC purchased French software development firm Abaxia for 11 million EUR ($13 million) according to Digitimes. The official press release is here, but does not mention the financial details. What exactly does Abaxia do?
According to their website they offer 3 products:
- Mobile Portal: White label Active Idle Screen application embedded on the handset. It provides users with a one-click access to value-added services and information, through the idle screen.
- Mobile Finder: Brings smart search onto the idle screen, including on-device and on-line search with minimum key strokes. Mobile Finder helps users discovering services and instantly finding phone features, contacts and locate services in the most intuitive way.
- Abaxia Open Platform (AOP): A server solution that allows activating the idle screen. This solution provides an end-to-end client server architecture to access content, advertising and search from a mobile handset. AOP is the ultimate solution for promoting services and monetize the real estate of the handset. AOP includes a suite of back-office tools for statistics & analytics to improve offer relevance and thus user satisfaction.
What’s HTC going to do with these 3 products? The “Mobile Portal” solution sounds like something HTC could use to lure operator deals. Imagine HTC going up to a company like Verizon Wireless and saying “look, we can build your widgets right onto the home screen so that when someone turns on their device, all your offerings are there”. Yes, HTC already has made custom Android widgets, but with “Mobile Portal” they can have write once, deploy on many.
“Mobile Finder” rips one of my favorite things about Palm’s webOS, and slaps it onto anything. How many times have you wanted to simply start typing at the homescreen and get access to contacts, bookmarks, applications, etc. Android has a search widget built into the platform, but ironically, for a company so talented in search, I find Android’s built in device search engine lacking. Imagine what HTC can do with a custom solution that can not only be deployed on Android, but other platforms as well.
Finally there’s “AOP”, which sounds like “Mobile Portal” on steroids.
Whatever HTC decides to do, one thing is for sure, they’re taking mobile software seriously. Unlike Nokia and Apple, who want to own the complete operating system, and the services on top, and the device hardware, HTC is taking Google’s OS, tweaking it, and trying to offer something that makes it different compared to everything else on the market.
Sounds great, but what about people like me who simply want the vanilla Android experience?
Time will tell.