In case you haven't been paying attention, HTC and Apple are in the middle of a patent dispute over some software installed on the former company's new HTC One X. The phone, which was scheduled to ship on Sprint's network as the Evo 4G LTE tomorrow is currently being held up by the International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs due to a perceived violation of one of Apple's software patents.
But, as it turns out, that violation may be a complete non-issue for U.S. versions of HTC's newest halo phone. You see, the patent keeping the phones locked up, deals with a user's ability to press a link to a phone number, email address, or URL and then choose whether they want to open their phone's dialer, different email clients or web browsers.
Apple claims that the ability to provide users with those options is covered under its patent, and apparently the I.T.C. agrees. And that would be all well and good if the U.S. versions of HTC's One X and Evo 4G LTE included that particular feature.
But as it turns out, HTC seems to have had an inkling that Apple would call it out for the patent and as a result, changed the software in the One X and Evo 4G LTE before shipping them. Instead of bringing up a menu when you tap a link to an email address, phone number or URL, the U.S. versions of HTC's phone automatically opens the appropriate app without any prompting from the user.
If for instance, you tap a phone number sent to you in an email address, the One X will automatically open the phone's dialer. Of course, users can change app associations through the App Associations menu in the One X's Settings menu. So it would seem that all of those phones currently being held up by the I.T.C. don't actually violate Apple's patent.
But if that's the case, why didn't HTC notify the I.T.C. about the changes to the U.S. version of the phone's software? And why wasn't the I.T.C. aware of the changes when the phone was already being shipped in the U.S. through AT&T?
It could be that the I.T.C. is simply trying to make sure that the changes are different enough from Apple's software as to not violate the patent. Whatever the case, we'll let you know when the HTC One X/ Evo 4G LTE is finally able to reach U.S. stores.