HTC to continue with Beats Audio in its handsets

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Old 25-Aug-2012
Ginni Singh
HTC to continue with Beats Audio in its handsets

HTC started bundling a pair of Beats headphones along with its smartphones in a move last year to set itself apart from the competition. This move by the company showed that it was making handsets that were versatile enough to sport great audio playback as well. This move by the smartphone manufacturer apparently was not the best decision and in April it was reported that HTC would now be selling its smartphones without the headphones but would still use the audio technology in their handsets. This led many to ponder the fact that HTC would phase out Beats audio from its smartphones in order to cut costs. However, as per a report by CNET, HTC has stated that this was completely untrue.

As per the report, HTC stated, “HTC remains strongly committed to Beats Audio and including their innovation in our devices. Any rumor of HTC no longer integrating Beats Audio into our devices is categorically false.”

The partnership will continue

In the second half of last month, reports had surfaced stating that HTC bought 50.1 percent of Beats Electronics last year in August in order to enhance its phones and keep up with the rising competition in the mobile space. However, the company had then sold back 25 percent of the shares to the founders of Beats Electronics for $150 million. After this announcement, HTC’s shares fell by 4 percent.

There have been speculations that HTC had made that move due to growing competition from Samsung. The audio enhancement was incorporated to set apart HTC handsets from others available in the market. However, HTC remains Beats' largest shareholder with 25.1 percent, with Beats' founders holding the remainder 25.57 percent, along with the voting rights. Some models of HTC One Series also come equipped with Beats Audio technology.

The first handset to come out of HTC’s stable with the Beats logo was the Sensation XE with Beats Audio. A number of its devices have featured this branding since then. With the branding, HTC also bundled up Beats headphones or earphones as part of its package, giving users an option to experience music the way the artists intended. However, reports in April said that the brand will no longer be bundling Beats earphones or headphones as part of the box contents of their smartphones.

HTC’s Beats unit also bought MOG, a digital music subscription service. There were reports about Beats Electronics close to buying MOG for an undisclosed sum in early March. However, HTC refused to spill details by saying that it doesn’t comment on rumours. MOG was founded in 2005 by Hyman and has raised $33 million from its two main backers, Menlo Ventures and Balderton Capital. Fifty percent of the business is online subscriptions. The other half is its advertising network called MOG Music Network, which places ads on more than 1,700 music sites. It was then believed that MOG could be integrated as a discounted offer to buyers of Beats' popular 'Beats by Dr Dre' headphones, HTC smartphones, or in laptops made by Hewlett Packard, with which Beats has a separate partnership.

So from the looks of it, these rumours remain as just rumours and HTC will continue adding the Beats Audio technology as part of its handsets.

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