Location-based coupons are hot. There were rumors today of daily deals provider Groupon partnering with Foursquare to target deals at check-in users, and now an unlikely player, device manufacturer HTC, is looking into location-based coupons.

In a podcast interview with GPS Business News, Cedric Mangaud, VP of value-added services at HTC, said, "we want to be part of this story." HTC is working on adding value to the user experience on its devices through GPS, and Mangaud sees mobile location coupons as a prime target. Deals are a scorching market and the shakers are moving quickly to keep pace. As an original equipment manufacturer, what will HTC's play in the space look like?

"I won't be able to mention any deadlines for the moment but of course it is something that is key when you look at the market and how the market is moving right now and I think that is a great opportunity within retail activity and brining user and customer to the point-of-sale is something key," Mangaud said to GPS Business News. "There are different things on the market such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Facebook Deals and others. Of course, we want to be part of this story. We want to bring the best to the user and we are working on how to implement in the best way these kind of offerings."

It is hard to see HTC going it alone in the coupon arena. Daily deals require a sales force with a large inventory of businesses wanting to do deals to make it work. HTC is an OEM, groups coupon sales is a bit outside the purview of its business model. There are also retailers and users to consider. Retailers are constantly being pitched by vendors, advertisers and now the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial and it hard to see them wanting to add yet another deal, this one from a smartphone vendor with limited market penetration.

It would make a lot more sense for HTC to partner with either Groupon or LivingSocial who already have the group-buying infrastructure in place, at least in the United States.

"GPS is a key feature for us and a key differentiator within the services," Mangaud said. "When you see the key services on the Web, one of the key differentiators we could use through the GPS are these key features."

It is smart of HTC to focus on "value added services"? The Android ecosystem is crowded with OEMs looking to stand out and HTC has a big battle on its hands with Samsung and Motorola to be leaders in the space. Mangaud also said that HTC has created its own maps, turn-by-turn and traffic products independent of Android/Google and Windows Phone and Microsoft.

Photo: Cedric Mangaud via GPS Business News