Ahead of HTC’s planned announcement today, this Thursday, in Los Angeles, California, it looks like partner Beats by Dr. Dre has went ahead and made the announcement. HTC’s $300 million investment in the audio and sound company will net the Taiwanese smartphone-maker a 51% investment stake in the company, and would give HTC access to Beats audio to differentiate its products from others on the market by delivering better sound.
In the past, HTC had worked with Dolby, SRS Labs, and others to bring better quality audio to its products, including the HTC Thunderbolt, the HTC HD7S, HTC Flyer and EVO View 4G, and other smartphones. With Beats audio, HTC can potentially deliver the same type of differentiation through enhanced audio quality, but with an ‘in-house’ solution. For example, on select videos and audio files played through the Sprint-powered HTC EVO View 4G 7-inch Gingerbread tablet, I found that enabling the enhanced audio setting does really make a difference with richer, louder audio. Disabling the audio enhancements reduces the aural experience, but does enable better battery life.
It’s unclear how HTC and the Beats by Dr. Dre partnership will affect HP, which is a smartphone rival to HTC with the Palm Pre 3 and the TouchPad tablet. HP is using Beats as a differentiating component on its TouchPad tablet along with its notebooks and desktops. Whether HTC’s partnership would result in an end of Beats by Dr. Dre’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard is unclear.
In a blog post, the Beats team had confirmed the partnership:
Dear Beats Army:
Today marks an incredible day for sound and Beats by Dr. Dre. We are announcing a partnership with HTC, one of the world’s leading wireless manufacturers. With this announcement, our two brands are coming together to redefine the smart phone category and redefine the way that sound is heard.
This partnership with HTC represents the next phase of our vision, placing the utmost importance on giving smart phone fans the opportunity to hear the highest-quality of sound possible. The Beats team, still led by Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, will continue to manage Beats autonomously.
This is truly an incredible chapter for Beats and we are proud to have you with us. Let’s Go!
THE BEATS TEAM
HTC’s PR team had subsequently confirmed the partnership ahead of CEO Peter Chou’s Los Angeles, California announcement:
HTC and Beats have been working together to create superior mobile audio experiences for consumers, which will result in a line of HTC devices integrated with Beats sound innovations, available this fall.
“Beats has found a unique way to harness popular culture in a manner that is unlike any other brand today,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corp. “It’s an exciting brand that has been built around providing something very special, and we believe our strategic partnership will provide customers with unbeatable sound on HTC phones. We obsess over every detail of a consumer’s mobile experience, and audio is a critical part of that experience.”
HTC is known for unifying content, services and devices into unique mobile experiences. And Beats is known for its unique consumer brand appeal and ability to reproduce the full spectrum of sound captured in professional recording studios, allowing consumers to hear music the way the artist intended. Bringing these two great brands together will create superior mobile music and sound experiences while accelerating HTC’s entry into the youth and accessories markets globally.
“Our customers have clearly responded to Beats and HTC, and Best Buy is proud to feature their products in our stores,” said Brian J. Dunn, CEO, Best Buy. “We are committed to offering innovative and entertaining technologies that help consumers enhance their lives. Our customers expect that from us. The unique HTC Sense experience and the great sound of Beats provide prime examples of that focus.”
As we’re seeing notebook manufacturers leveraging a better audio experience to sell their products, the move to make smartphones and tablets more competitive seems natural. Given that many users still complain about the audio quality and volume on Apple’s market-leading iPad, HTC’s deal could help them stand out.