Today's Tech: HTC One delay sees profits plunge, Google eyes WhatsApp for $1 billion, Facebook may charge users to send messages

HTC is paying the price for delaying the release of its new HTC One flagship smartphone, with the Taiwanese manufacturer today announcing a record-low quarterly profit since it began reporting its earnings in 2004. The impressive-looking HTC One was charged with leading the firm’s attack on 2013 and closing the gap on market leaders Samsung and Apple, but a shortage of components including metal casings and camera parts has seen the phone launch in just three markets instead of the 80 planned for the first quarter. The delay has resulted in a huge 99 per cent drop in net income from the same period last year, marking HTC’s sixth consecutive quarter of declines. Follow the link for the figures telling the sorry story.

Google could be on the brink of a $1 billion (£653m) acquisition of WhatsApp, if the rumours that surfaced today are to be believed. According to an "inside source," the popular cross-platform messaging app is "playing hardball" with the search giant as it looks to negotiate a blockbuster buy-out fee comparable to the $1 billion Facebook paid for Instagram in 2012. Google has apparently been in discussions with WhatsApp for over a month, as the Internet titan looks to establish itself in a radically re-imagined messaging space that eschews traditional SMS in favour of unified communication platforms. To that end, Google is understood to be working on its own messaging system, codenamed Babel, but while there's little doubt that the search behemoth has the resources to develop a platform from scratch, an acquisition could be a prudent if expensive way of entering the messaging sector immediately and securing a competitive advantage. Follow the link for a closer look at the acquisition that would seriously shake up the tech landscape.

Eager to help out national jewel BlackBerry, the government of Canada has lent Telefónica a sizeable sum to help the Spanish telecom firm procure a further €200 million (£170m) worth of BlackBerry devices for its supply chain. The move is intended to stimulate "BlackBerry market share growth within Telefónica" and there "appears to be a need for financing [Telefónica] at this time," Export Development Canada said. It remains unclear exactly which devices and markets the £170 million fund might find itself invested in, though some have (optimistically) posited that the money is slated to fulfil consumer demand for a further 500,000 BlackBerry Z10 handsets, while in the UK, retailers are currently assessing early-stage interest in the QWERTY-sporting BlackBerry Q10.

Facebook is looking to charge users as much as £10 to send messages to public figures and others outside their usual network, with a new payment scheme designed to reduce the amount of spam on the site. The charges would apply to private messages sent to other members’ inboxes, something that is currently free for all users regardless of whether they are ‘friends’ with the receiver. But the world’s largest social network believes implementing a payment system with a sliding scale of fees depending on the popularity of the recipient will help to kill off much of the spam in circulation. As such, the Sunday Times reports that fans wishing to send messages to Olympic diver Tom Daley could be charged £10.68 for the privilege, while contacting writer Salman Rushdie would cost £10.08. Facebook has confirmed the proposal in a statement but said, "This is still a test and these prices are not set in stone."