We recently saw that the HTC One S was being sold in Taiwan with a different processor than what's included in other regions, utilizing Qualcomm's previous-generation S3 Snapdragon instead of the latest S4 on the device that we reviewed. We reached out to HTC, who told us that the S3 version of the One S is being sold in Asia-Pacific regions as well as in some European markets. South Korea and Japan (where the HTC J is an S4-powered variant) are apparently not part of this substitution and exactly which European markets are seeing the switch isn't totally clear just yet. However, the good news is that HTC is labeling the S3 variants of the One S in the regions where it has made the change (hint: if the phone is clocked at 1.7GHz instead of 1.5GHz, it's probably using the S3).
Why the swap? It's no secret that Qualcomm is having a difficult time meeting the massive demand for the S4 thanks to the popularity of LTE devices in 2012 — devices which by and large run on Qualcomm's chips. HTC's previous statement, if you missed it, imples that it believes that the processor swap won't bother most consumers:
As with many high-demand HTC devices, we always work with our supply chain partners to source models which will allow us to meet customer demand as quickly as possible. In cases where more than one part is used, we ensure the same high bar of quality in the part to provide an equal user experience.
Be that as it may, if you're hoping for an S4-powered HTC One S in an area that isn't selling them yet, hold tight: the company tells us it's working to meet demand for phones that faster, more power-efficient chips. In the meantime, consumers in Asia and parts of Europe will want to take a second look at the spec page before they buy the One S.