HTC strikes exclusive deal for Beats Audio smartphones, we wonder why it's not HP | webOS Nation

HTC strikes exclusive deal for Beats Audio smartphones, we wonder why it's not HP 102

by Derek Kessler Wed, 10 Aug 2011 9:56 pm EDT

We’ll be honest, we’re fans of the work HTC’s managed over the past few years. It might be a series of black-fronted slabs with the occasional horizontal slider or 3D camera, but overall they’re solid and impressive devices. It’s the kind of stuff we want from HP, and it’s a bar we hope phones like the HP Pre3 will be able to reach. But HTC may have made that a touch more difficult with today’s pre-announcement: they’ve secured an exclusive deal with Beats Audio for HTC smartphones, and it rings in at $300 million.

The Beats Audio deal is likely the reason behind tomorrow’s conference call, though HTC CEO Peter Chou will have nothing of those sort of deadlines. He revealed to AllThingsD that HTC has signed an exclusive deal with Beats to include the audio tech in HTC’s upcoming smartphones. What that means is that HTC’s smartphones will likely sound better out of all speakers and the headphone jack, much as the HP TouchPad actually sounds pretty decent from its stereo speakers, but even better when hooked up to a good stereo system.

HP and Beats go way back. HP’s had Beats-enabled laptops for some time and the TouchPad was a natural extension of that relationship. We’re actually quite surprised to see Beats shacking up exclusively with HTC for smartphones, and quite disappointed that we’re not going to see any Beats-powered webOS smartphones any time in the near future. HP’s got the scale, but at the same time, $300 million is quite the investment to make for just audio. HP’s likely learned a lot from their experience with the Beats crew that they’ll be able to supply enhanced audio in future devices even without the lauded Beats branding. webOS has the potential to be a media powerhouse – all it needs is the hardware to back it up.

Update: Beats by Dr. Dre has made it official from their end too.

Source: AllThingsD; Via: Android Central



what if HTC are going to license webOS?!

Please say it's so!!!

Before ya'll go down that road, read this sobering article on HTC...

But it would be nice.

That would be my guess.

Where the h*ll did you get that from?

It was a question...

and a valid one given that HP are open to licensing webOS.

Personally, I think it would be nice if HTC would license it and produce their excellent hardware with beats audio and webOS.

Said that last night in the other article. It really makes too much sense not to do it.


>> It really makes too much sense not to do it.

If it makes sense then HPalm won't do it. :-/

But it does make sense and I hope they do license WebOS. Even in Palm's glory days it was vendors like Sony or Handspring that pushed out the best hardware. Palm has always been a follower and not a leader on the hardware front.

The $300 million deal has a very simple explanation:

How many HTC mobile devices are sold in a quarter?

How many HP mobile devices are sold in the same quarter?

As much as we all love for HP to succeed, it doesn't take a genius to figure this one out.

It's not a simple explanation.

The article is WRONG that it is not an exclusive deal. HTC bought 51% of Beats.

yep, they have bought controlling packet of them Beats for a handsome $300 million, just to license them out left, right and middle to their competitors! Smart thinking.

During the press call, which was covered live by androidcentral, Phil Nickinson paraphrased the following:

Last Q: Jimmy, saw you speak at the HP webOS event earlier this year. What does this new partnership do to Beats' relationship with HP or other competitors.

A: HP said to say hello to Peter Chou. Or relationship with HP will continue. It's in our best interest to continue building out the brand. We'll have an exclusive relationship with HTC on phones, because that's where the big play is. We're on a mission to fix sound everywhere.

"because that's where the big play is"

Translation: HP sucks and has no marketshare-- we're going with the Big Boys.

*Great reporting work, as always, from the P|C guys!*


That's an incredibly big piece of the story, and would answer the question that Derek posed. That's pretty freaking funny.

It's a blogging site not the NYT. Just to be fair and all..

As I'm sure will be said many times from now, I'm confused why they didn't get it into the Pre3 while they had the chance.. This is all pretty confusing to me. Who expected that chance to be gone though? That's a bit weird, but whatever, I'm ok with the sound quality as-is, and patented technologies aren't exactly my idea of a happy relationship/whatnot anyways! :)

There is no patent. Beats was started up by a couple of celebrities and Monster Cable did the manufacturing.

It's possible that the components required for beats audio in devices is/was too big phones when HP was testing prototypes of the Pre3.

Leave it to HP/Palm to be behind the power curve... No one else had done it so they couldn't possibly "innovate" it..... Smh

Sounds like what Hurd said is true: HP didn't buy webOS to get into the smartphone business. Otherwise why would they exclude such a prime feature?

The delay of the Pre3 makes sense now. HP isn't working overtime to get it out because they're not concerned with its success. (I know it's still 'technically' summer but back in February there is no way HP thought it would take until September to get it out the door)

This sucks for die hard webOS fans. Although those Windows phones look awfully good...

It's quite possible that the delay in getting the Pre3 to market is that it was intended to have beats audio (per the original specs and promo material) but the rights weren't properly secured and HTC started a bidding war. That's a significant loss for HP and could require changes to the hardware and software to avoid any litigation.

Now stop using that stupid man's idiotic and misrepresented quote. Hurd was a moron. He made a stupid remark, that while factually true, he didn't qualify with one simple statement "HP didn't buy webOS to get into the smartphone business, HP's already in it. We have much larger plans." Similarly they didn't buy webOS to get into the tablet or printer market that they were already in.

They bought Palm to get an o/s of their own, so they could stop giving 10-20% of their PC revenue to MS for Window's licenses.

no, that's simply not true. HP has already said that WebOS will just run as an application on top of Windows. There won't be any PC's that boot WebOS.

LOL, not in the first year of course, PC's have to run office apps. And after 2-plus years, Palm and HP have yet to release a WebOS device that can edit a simple Word document!

Open your eyes. They breezed over developing phones. They just released an incomplete tablet. And already, they're "promising" to have WebOS in some iteration, on every laptop in 2112.

If they were serious about growing WebOS in mobile electronics, they'd complete WebOS 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0, before ever talking about putting it on a laptop. The goal, is displacing Windows from their core product groups. Not paying MS would be a feather in their cap in the PC markets that are already plagued with marginal profits. If they could save $80 per machine, it would impact their bottom line. And if they could license WebOS to other PC makers, ka-ching!

But, its just a dream for now, currently a very bad dream. Right now, the biggest missing feature in WebOS, for all devices, is credibility. This move to laptops will doom the phones and tablets and be a cluster-thump for their PC business in the end.

Its a train wreck, great seats are still available, but going fast.

who in his right mind would want webOS on a PC, laptop, or even netbook (let alone printer, toaster, fan, lamp, TV or any other appliance) for that matter, if there are 1.000.000 better alternatives (as in application counts) working on them for DECADES now???

Post that in the forums and i'm sure you'll get your answer. There's a few drones still left.

No **** A touchscreen UI run by an o/s that HP couldn't even get an API out to do voice recording on a phone? And exepect it to manage USB, web cam, ethernet, printer spooling, video card(s) and all the USB peripherals.

Watching HP try to make WebOS fly on a PC is gonna be funnier than watching a dog try to climb a tree.

Palm gave you a phone that worked like a PC. Now HP gives you a PC that works like a phone.

You have one warped sense of reality, predog.

If the touchpad had a big beats logo on it, it'd be selling like hotcakes.

yep cause beats is a good brand and a hot brand and HP is kinda old school white box computerish.

every to box I have seen has a beats logo on it

Perhaps HP would be more successful selling them if they displayed the boxes instead of the touchpad then...

Which Android phone should I buy?

An HTC - not for Beats Audio, but for the sense skin.

You cant make top level headphones a key selling point when you have a top level headset bug.

BEATS is about hardware without compromise. HTC is a natural partner.

This is really starting to turn into a laugher...

I was thinking the same thing.



I'm confused. One of the 2 complaints I have of my touchpad is that the output level of the audio using headphone jack is way too low. Sure, it sounds great out of the speakers for local sound, but the sound out of the jack is missing some umph!

HP gots the money to keep beats audio!! they are getting worried about the touchpad's awesomeness.

Nice,an update down the line would make my evo 3d even better!

Wow, you know as little about BEATS and HTC as you do about WebOS. I didn't think that was possible.

You would need a hardware upgrade.

well, as long as its a HTC phone with webOS 3.x and beats audio, that works with my just acquired touchpad... i'm in :D

Why not HP? Be glad HP didn't buy the controlling share in Beats, look what they did to Palm.

and voodoo

Given that logic, I would *LOVE* for HP to buy Beats.

Monster Cable makes overpriced, expensive plastic, which happens to accompany marginal audio equipment.

HP needs to worry about features that they have already advertised as distinctions but are yet to implement, such as TTS. Unless it comes with free, premium headphones, no one buys a tablet or phone for an audio technology they don't even understands.

hmmm and y would HP exclude themselves from their own tech?

On the release by Dr Dre and HTC the contract with HP and other companies are still intact.
Please read the whole thing...

Beats Electronics will continue to operate autonomously — with Iovine as chairman and Luke Wood as president and chief operating officer — with its current business partnerships, including Monster Cable Products Inc., HP and Chrysler Group LLC. Iovine also will continue serving as chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records.

Yeah, the press release doesn't say anything about an exclusive deal, perhaps we'll know more later on.

Either way, it's a bit of a blow for the marketing of HP (supposed) phones. If they continue to be able to use them on the tablets, that's a good thing. Obviously they will still be on the laptops.

It's not an exclusive deal at all.

HTC bought 51% of Beats, but kept the Hollywood celebrities "in charge".

During the press call, which was covered live by androidcentral, Phil Nickinson paraphrased the following:

Last Q: Jimmy, saw you speak at the HP webOS event earlier this year. What does this new partnership do to Beats' relationship with HP or other competitors.

A: HP said to say hello to Peter Chou. Or relationship with HP will continue. It's in our best interest to continue building out the brand. We'll have an exclusive relationship with HTC on phones, because that's where the big play is. We're on a mission to fix sound everywhere.

Which will hit the market first? An HTC Beats Audio phone, or the Pre 3?

HTC beats audio running webOS. Than we get somehwere!

That's pretty funny.

let's be honest....Beats Audio is a cool concept, but can anybody really tell the difference? It's got a cool name and some big names behind it, but doesn't add any real value to a mobile device.

I'd say Beats just got a huge payday...and HTC really got nothing of value. If Beats was forcing HP's hand, then HP was wise to take a pass.

Beats Audio is not a cool concept.

It is a rehash of the same kind of technology that SRS has with WOW and TruBass --- only that SRS has 30 years of audio expertise.

All Beats Audio has is celebrity endorsements.

And now it's one more thing HTC can advertise that other phone makers can't.

It's a freakin .5" tiny smartphone speaker. Who cares.

Is also the audio jack.

When I saw on androidcentral that HTC was going to be making a big announcement tomorrow, I was hoping that they were going to announce that in addition to Android and Windows phones, they were now going to be making webOS phones as well. Yeah, I need a webOS 3.x version of the HTC Evo 3D with Beats Audio FTW!

If Samsung and HTC could license webOS cheap and build awesom hardware for it the os would take off exponentially and developers would be all over it.

Yeah, I know keep dreaming...

If you listen to HP talk about licensing then you'll know it will never be with just another phone maker.

I haven't heard. Who would they license to? I thought the article on PC said that Samsung was likely to license WebOS.

If you listen to HP talk about anything, you know its all subject to change shortly.

"for all devices"
"for no cash"
"make it right"
"products in weeks, not months"
"this summer"
"wont' tolerate unprofitable products"
"wont release until it is ready"

HP is sorta like that baseball player hitting .083, they're due for a hit.

Well, the guys at AllThingsD and Android Central might have made a mistake. The website says that this is an exclusive deal (and that's where Derek got his info from), but the PR doesn't even mention the term. All is not lost.

one could think hp bought palm just for the lulz.

As far I understand is a implementation agreement not a (brand) exclusive agreement.
It was a agreement like the one that HP made in the past to include that technology on their devices.
So I think that we will see Beats on future HP devices...

So let me get this straight. When the TouchPad had Beats Audio, it was a useless gimmick that you couldn't use without headphones, owned by Monster, a company known for expensive bogus products, and didn't sound any better.

Now that HTC has Beats Audio, it's a marvellous audio technology that HP were stupid to let go because now HTC is going for world domination with crisp and clear sound.

This place sometimes... :(

Seems you've missed the posts above that are downgrading Beats to a useless tech which is in stark contrast to the posts that were elevating it to a must have when it was announced for the touchpad.

Yep...this place sometimes... :(

Think you got it backwards, GodShapedHole...

He often does. Remember, he's just a god-SHAPED hole -- god would get it right more often.


Burn :)


Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky, but webOS is your god. Once giants lived in the earth, and in the darkness of chaos, they fooled webOS, and they took from it the enigma of Beats Audio. webOS was angered, and the earth shook, and fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters. But in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of multitasking and left it on the battlefield, and we who found it. We are just men, not gods, not giants, just men. And the secret of multi-tasking has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, you must learn its discipline, for no one, no one in this world can you trust, not men, not women, not steve jobs... This you can trust. [points to his HP VEER]

Too much time on your hands?

Maybe it's a way to position themselves better as a 3rd party for WebOS. (If it happens) It would add some synergy and set them apart from Samsung.

" webOS has the POTENTIAL to be a media powerhouse – all it needs is the hardware to back it up."

...AAAARGHHH.... "£$%^&*!!! You have used the P-word AGAIN in your article, you evil P|C editor! My head is going to explode now!!!!

Jesus Christ, webOS has POTENTIAL to cure cancer, beat world hunger, and command a world peace!

buahahahahaha... buahahahahaha!

Do not forget to add "in the coming months" somewhere in the mix... oh wait, did you said "exclusive" deal w/ HTC... too bad!

...and when I was commenting back then, that Beats Audio (I don't really care if it is beats, shmeats or no name, as long as it is hifi) has MUCH more sense in a smartphone, than in a tablet, HP knew better... Because who am I, an armchair analyst, and who they are, "the biggest IT company..." OK.

You guys are missing the point. Beats Audio isn't anything special. It's all about the branding. The branding, stupid. Yeah, so there's a little bit more bass from the speakers of the Touchpad, yeah it sounds good. But imagine how much smaller a smartphone's speakers are and let me know how much better you can make a smartphone sound? And when do you blast your smartphone speakers in public? Maybe in your room, if your 15-years-olds. But for people with money, it just makes sense that if you are going to play music from your phone, you use the jack and plug them into bookshelf speakers. Why would anyone care about having 'awesome' cellphone speakers? It's all jazz.

Pre3 is debris left over from Palm. Residue. It's a prototype gone to market (oh wait...). 1.4ghz single-core with a physical keyboard? ha! Talk about living in the stone age of 2011. Come on, get real. We are moving incredibly fast and the Pre3 is ancient now. More than six months from announcement to release (sometime...)? It's a joke! And don't believe that Beats was ever destined for Pre3, it was a copy and paste mistake for crying out loud!

There are some really dedicated webos enthusiasts out there, but then there are the ones who are miserable and jaded and are wasting their time looking for a savior from HP. I got news for you. Wake up. Come back a few months from now and see how webos is doing. Go outside and enjoy yourself, stop sitting there opening up apps and swiping away cards just because you can. HP has toyed with you, manipulated you, tricked you into buying first generation products that are overpriced only to knock them down $100 one month later. How can you expect a company to do good after that kind of move? And to lie and say this is not the real launch, THIS is the real launch. No, wait, THIS is the real launch. Okay, really, THIS is the real launch. They are trying to justify their 1.4 billion dollar purchase but it is getting tough to stay afloat. Worst case scenario is they will make a few more iterations of the TouchPad, maybe release a slab phone in the Q1 of 2012, and then if things aren't working out, just start working on the printer interfaces. And all the Touchpads will be docked to a printer. Webos will never exist harmoniously on PCs because of Windows 8. Why would it? Windows 8 on a tablet right? That's what they are doing. Now imagine they ship that tablet with webos on it. Imagine the fragmentation and confusion then. It's a lot of garbage. It will never happen. This has always been HP's pipe dream and it always will be. Webos will always think it can, but it never will.

There are plenty of other options out there...enlighten yourself.

"Go outside and enjoy yourself, stop sitting there opening up apps and swiping away cards just because you can."

LOL Well said sir.

Beats is more sizzle than steak - ask any audiophile. It's more marketing company than technology company but it does has nice street cred. But buying a large to majority stake in the company is not necessary for HP. HP can always partner with other audio companies and probably will. Bose was Beats before Beats was - not that I think HP needs to partner with them but they could. And there are plenty of others to choose from depending on the level of sophistication they want to go for. $300 million (1/4 of Palm's acquisition cost) could buy a lot of nice additions to the webOS platform. It was smart of them to hold on to their cash.

Not really a big deal...

I glad. HP can spend that branding money on a good audio engineer and make smartphones that actually sound better.

Perhaps they'd be better served by spending that branding money on simply making smartphones in the first place. They can get them to sound better later.

Ditto no big technical deal. The audio performance in the phone can be replicated. Other brands of headphones outperform Beats.

It's purely a marketing gimmick.

It's purely a marketing gimmick that is shifting stock for Beats.

HTC has recognised this and having Beats branded phones and tablets will help them shift stock.

Whether or not it is technically better doesnt matter. It is a hot brand and will help sell more items.

I am sure it has help sell HP laptops and the TP to some consumers.

So if HP turns to Bose to replace Beats what happens? Bose = Beats except one focuses in midrange and the other on bass. Both are average in terms of sound quality but are marketing whores.

In my opinion Bose doesn't have the 'cool' factor Beats has. They seem to aim at more middle aged customers.

Which may be a good thing if HP intends to focus on enterprise, but it wont necessarily bring them the wide customer base they should be aiming at.

But I have not read in any place else except here that it is going to be exclusively in htc phones. It is a partnership but not exclusivity.

I'm amazed at how much people think this is a big deal for phone/tablet sales. Seriously, HP has so much more important work to do on webOS than buy this "fluff".

Here's my take on what went down in the boardroom at HP:

"Hey, let's lock up the Beats Audio exclusive rights. It'll only cost $300 million."

"Nah, we already know the engineering behind Beats Audio now. We can reproduce the same audio quality with that knowledge, so we'd only be paying for a fad tradename. Instead, let's sell an extra 3,000,000 TouchPads at $100 off. That will also cost $300 million."

Which way do you think the board voted?

And we are HP we have a really cool and hip brand identity. We dont need a trendy brand like Beats.

Oh wait...

Yep, they are the cool kids at the table...uhm...will be the cool kids at the the coming...nevermind.

HP will be the Cool kids plus one!!

HP was always known for great Tech. The move towards me-too commodities started with Lew Platt in 1992. It's taken a "software guy" to begin the long road back.

"Cool and hip" is part of the problem.

Care to explain??

What is 'great Tech' in your book?

And how is the 'software guy' getting them back towards producing great tech?

I agree that poorly implemented me-too commodities are not good. But being cool and hip and truly innovative is not a problem, if you can do it well. They should not try to compete with Apple, and perhaps they should stick to enterprise products, with all the implications that could mean for webOS phones.

One of many examples: The HP35. I am saying that "cool" flows naturally from great Tech, not the other way around. You won't feel very "cool" with a Beats setup if it sounds like muddy thump-thump compared to good audio. (Assuming you've heard good audio).

The HP35 is a good piece of tech, so was the betamax, video disk and so on and so on, but cool didnt necessarily follow.

It seems a number of people do like the Beats audio sound, I can't say I've tested it myself, and they also like to buy into the projected 'life style' they've created around it.

Beyond having a good piece of tech, you have to have a market or build a market for it. Apple, Beats Audio and other life style brands do that, and do it well.

Unfortunately, it isn't necessarily about having good audio (I am a musician and have been principal trombone in a youth orchestra... too many years ago now... so i know a bit about good audio :)). Someone mentioned SRS as having better tech than Beats audio. That may be so, but you don't see people clamoring to buy SRS branded products like you do with Beats Audio, even with their inflated prices.

This is a marketing and branding opportunity that may well now be lost to webOS cell phones. And let's be honest, HP could do with all the help it can get to shift inventory.

It seems from their actions so far, moving inventory was only the second or third HP priority. They have clearly decided to take their time.

It's working for me. The Pre2 is just fine for me (or will be when the 2.1 update goes out), and my new Touchpad is working great. I can be patient.

That's an interesting business strategy. I hope it works for them.

From what I've heard Leo saying is that HP can not afford to have loss making divisions. And so I assume it isn't a strategy they will follow for too long and they will look to move as many products as possible.

"It seems from their actions so far, moving inventory was only the second or third HP priority. They have clearly decided to take their time."

Wow. Craziest thing I've heard all day. It seems TouchPad sales don't matter because that was only the second or third priority. Really?

Neither Chou nor Iovine shared many specifics, but we learned that the two companies will be deeply committed in a "special" and "exclusive" relationship, which Iovine referred to as a "marriage." In discussing the possible deal, he mentioned that Beats felt a need of urgency to penetrate the mobile marketplace and were bent on making it happen with HTC: "we have GOT to get to the phone...this marriage expedites that process." Computer and phone companies alike are realizing that they need to upgrade the (currently subpar) audio experience in their products, he said, and we should expect to see many of these businesses launching stellar improvements in sound quality over the next three months.