HTC has confirmed with The Verge that it is using a lower-powered Snapdragon S3 chipset for the HTC One S in select European and Asian markets. Thanks to an unusually high demand for the Snapdragon S4 processor, HTC has instead opted for Qualcomm's S3 CPU in some instances.
In a move that should please picky consumers, HTC is labeling the affected SKUs so that buyer are aware of the potential performance differences. At first blush, a Snapdragon S3 clocked at 1.7GHz might be mistaken as potentially better than the 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4; however, it's not just a simple matter of more gigahertz equaling more power.
As Qualcomm advises, the newer processor is not only more powerful than its predecessor, it's also more energy efficient. On a positive note, most consumers would be hard-pressed to spot the differences between the two processors. NVIDIA, for its part, is doing a similar thing with its KAI reference platform.
I'm glad to see that HTC isn't simply pushing out a nearly identical variant to its HTC One S just for giggles. Even HTC has admitted that it tried to do too much in 2011, releasing slightly modified versions of the same handsets. Consumers ultimately came away scratching their heads in confusion, wondering what the differences were in a Sensation, Sensation XL, and Sensation SE.
Until Qualcomm is able to catch up to the demand for its dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, consumers in Asia and Europe are advised to read the proverbial label.