Through a strategic partnership, HTC will integrate Beats' audio technology throughout its line of HTC devices, not just headphones, starting this fall.
HTC CEO Peter Chou, speaking on a press call Thursday, described the partnership as "special" and "exclusive" to HTC phones, but Beats will continue to work with its other partners including HTC competitor HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ). Jimmy Iovine, Beats' chairman and record producer, also promised "massive sound upgrades" from "huge computer companies" soon.
Dre is hardly the first producer-cum-musician to dive into the mobile business. Thomas Dolby, the hyperactive '80s pop star, founded ringtone firm Beatnik Inc. in 1993. (See Here Come the Warm Phones and Beatnik Releases Ringtones.)
Why this matters
Mobile audio quality is attracting interest as more high-definition content comes to mobile devices and smartphones double as music players. Handset makers are thinking about how to bring the listening experience on par with the viewing one.
For HTC, Beats is the latest investment it has made to differentiate its smartphones from its Android competitors, and audio appears to be a particular focus. The handset maker also works with SRS Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SRSL) to bring surround-sound audio to its mobile apps and games. (See HTC Buy Shores Up Patent Defenses and HTC Buys a Patent Power Play.)
Dr. Dre's company should also help HTC attract the youth market, as well as retail customers through a partnership with Best Buy.
For more The music industry is counting on mobile to help revive it. Here's more on how the market is shaping up.
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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile