It’s not just midrange smartphones coming out of HTC’s MWC 2014 press conference in Barcelona. The company has also announced its new “Power to Give” campaign, which looks to coordinate the processing power of millions of HTC One smartphones in an effort to solve some of humanity’s most pressing problems.
The idea will be familiar to anyone who’s run SETI@home on a personal computer any time in the past two decades. Distributing processing tasks over many individual devices to divide up a vast workload is a pretty smart move, and it can result in impressive processing power: HTC claims that a million HTC One devices working together could equal the processing power of a supercomputer (approximately one petaFLOP). Unlike the SETI program, though, HTC’s initiative allows users to choose which cause they’d like their smartphone’s resources devoted to.
All this is accomplished via an app available for download from the Google Play Store. The app, limited to the HTC One family (and HTC Butterfly devices) and still technically in beta for now, will divert a portion of the phone’s processing power to chewing on data from whatever cause the user has selected. According to HTC, this processing occurs only when the device is plugged in, and only over WiFi. Over the next six months, availability should open to other Android smartphones as the beta progresses.
According to its press release, HTC developed this program in conjunction with Dr. David Anderson, Inventor of the Shared Computing Initiative; BOINC, University of California, Berkeley; and Fearlessly Frank, Global Brand Consultancy.