Expect red Dr Dre-endorsed earphones to be draped around upcoming HTC phones and tablets this year, as the Taiwanese phone maker buys up a hefty stake in audio gear maker Beats Electronics to differentiate itself from rival phone makers.
HTC’s US$309 million investment will give it a 51 per cent stake in the brand made famous by rapper Dr Dre, the phone maker revealed today.
It will also enable HTC to include Beats Audio technology – proven in good if expensive headphones as well as Beats-powered HP laptops – in its mobile devices come Fall 2011.
As PCMag smartly points out, HTC’s move is not as much about the well-known Beats Audio technology as it is about buying street cred in a race to win over non-techie users.
With Dr Dre onboard with his iconic red-themed earphones, HTC is buying a lot of cool that the latest dual-core processors or Super AMOLED screen just cannot offer. Just as it can pitch its hipness to the fashionista, it can avoid having its devices commoditised as Android continues to gain more share in the smartphone market.
HTC, of course, is not the only one who has tried using Beats Audio in mobile devices. HP’s recently-launched TouchPad tablet promises better bass and clearer audio – as musicians intended the music to be heard, as HP would say.
HTC and Beats Electronics have said that existing partnerships with HP as well as Monster Cable and Chrysler would continue, adding that the the audio company is to be run autonomously.