Sep 27 AT 12:00 PM Dima Aryeh 23 Comments

Beats finally frees itself from HTC, buys back remaining stake


It looks like the days of HTC devices with Beats audio may be over. It all started when HTC purchased a 50.1% stake in the company. The two teamed up to create an audio system for HTC devices, which started out as an inflexible bass-heavy software equalizer that didn’t work well. But they improved the software little by little, and the Beats tech slowly became something worth having.

A year later, Beats had purchased half of HTC’s stake in the company. And as HTC has been falling from grace, Beats has wanted to be free. It’s a growing business stuck with a failing smartphone company, and the founders knew that. So they have decided to buy back Beats in full, purchasing the remaining 25% stake that HTC had.

Previously, those behind Beats have stated that they are a quickly growing business and need to expand to work with manufacturers that can keep up with them. In its current state, HTC can’t. Hopefully that doesn’t mean Samsung will be looking for a partnership. But what will this mean for HTC?

HTC thought of Beats as an “important partner,” and used the Beats technology as a selling point. However, I don’t think this will affect their business much. Not too many people would look at their phones and choose them because they have Beats technology. With how trendy the headphones are, many of the users actually own iPhones in my experience. Plus, they still have their awesome BoomSound technology that they can tune in-house. I don’t think this will have a negative impact on HTC.

The deal will be closing by the end of the year, and while the possibility of HTC using Beats technology after this exists (they would just not hold exclusive rights), we wouldn’t get our hopes up. Do you think this is damaging to the company, or will they survive without a software equalizer and an extra logo? Leave a comment!

Source: Android Central

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things car and tech. His time is split between gaming and fixing his racecar. He also does photography in his spare time.

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  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    One of the reasons HTC has kept me, definitely switching to Nexus 5.

    • FLegend21

      HTC never made it clear what Beats Audio meant, I think it refers to the whole audio system not just the EQ curve of the same name.

      I NEVER use Beats Audio (the EQ and gain) listening to headphones on my HTC devices. It distorts the sound. The only good use is for the BoomSound speakers of the HTC One and Butterfly s.

      The sound card is much more important and in the case of the One X, the sound card was said to be poor quality; the DAC in the One and Butterfly s is much better but nothing special as it is just Qualcomm’s proprietary DAC. Although headphone amps are in many smartphones, the latter two devices have been noted to be much louder than other smartphones. However, on my Butterfly s I have noticed a crackling distortion on slow deep bass at high volumes with in-ear headphones, a software issue (considering the Qualcomm Galaxy S4 used the same audio chip); it seems to less of a problem if I use larger high-impedance headphones.

      HTC should invest upon a high end audio technology, like Samsung is doing with Wolfson (so far only on their Exynos chips). A few years ago many devices had Wolfson chip because the Tegra 2 used it but now it’s only Samsung.

      BoomSound speakers and the headphone amp aren’t branded with Beats but if they were developed by Beats they might not be in the next HTC phone… what a shame…

      • alexxx

        The thing is you do need good headphones not earbuds to handle beats, something that can handle all the base otherwise it will crackle and distort, same with mid and high tones that beats makes more punchy and crisp. I got the one x and I have the world’s worst headphones to enable beats on-basswise- Koss porta pro’s, but with JetAudio(real quality player) I tone the bass down and kind of toone the EQ to acomodate the headphones and Beats enabled. I simply am addicted to how much more dynamic my music is, because I mostly listen to high energy music.

      • theviper21

        Just like the headphones, it doesn’t really matter to most consumers because they buy it just for the branding. All that most people think is that Beats = high-end audio because they price their headphones so high. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that anything with the Beats name is just overpriced hype. Someone at work saw me with my headphones and thought they were Beats; I was insulted.

        Give me a smartphone with a Sennheiser, Klipsch, AKG, Audio-Technica, or Beyerdynamics brand and now we’re talkin’!

    • jeralee1

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  • aranea

    I don’t think it’s the only selling point for a phone. If they were producing mp3 players that would be a different story.

  • jaxidian

    I’m still confused. Other than sometimes getting a software equalizer and a slightly better set of free earbuds with the phone, what did Beats actually bring with HTC devices? Aren’t software equalizers a dime a dozen anymore?

  • ibap

    HTC may be ‘failing’ (though some of the best phones I’ve had have been HTC), but Samsung’s decision to lock phones to a given region means they aren’t “world” phones. As someone in the US shopping for new phones for the family with a planned overseas trip for next year – that takes Samsung out of the running.

    • Isaac Hunt

      Hey ibap, I think Samsung Germany has cleared somewhat Samsung’s plans and in many ways it makes sense. The locking only means that if you buy the Note 3 or any other devices coming up in the US, you must register it in the US first then you use it. If you purchase the phone in the US and register it in another country, then it will be unlocked. So what they are trying to get people to do is what ever you buy the device, you should register it in the same country or else you will be locked out. I think this helps to curb 3rd party sales where people on ebay and amazon or any other site similar, usually sell the devices to make a profit and to manage that somewhat, Samsung has come out with the plan to regionally lock it so that you dont buy a more expensive unit sold in the US when you can buy the same unit in the country you reside. I have seen many people on places like ebay selling the S4 and other android devices for some ridiculous prices and also, sometimes I even see them cheaper than the prices where I reside and for me it may be a steal of a deal. That may not be good business for Samsung and others who adopt the same business model. So in a way I can understand their strategy but I feel that there is the need for them to come out publicly and address the concerns. Hope that helps :)

      • Isaac Hunt

        **The locking only means that if you buy the Note 3 or any other devices coming up in the US, you must register it in the US first then you can use it. If you purchase the phone in the US and register it in another country, then it will be locked.** Sorry, I made some typos.

        • Isaac Hunt

          The same goes for any other country globally. What you should do is get the device registered in the country of residence and if you are travelling, i think that the Samsung Germany replied that you can find a local Samsung representative store to unlock the device for free. Im hoping that is the case because then it will be such a shame if it were otherwise which I highly doubt because I dont think that Samsung is suicidal…LOL.

      • Wes

        Wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • Raulam65

    “Takin the time to perfect the beat…” – Dr. Dre

  • Mj

    We don’t need sound we need quality HTC Will do it.

  • Hom0ncruse

    final nail in the coffin for HTC

  • Androidguy916

    The whole HTC and Beats thing was overrated anyway in my opinion. I’m on my 3rd HTC device featuring Beats audio, and I still can’t find whats so fascinating about it. I doubt HTC will stumble even a little from the severance. After all, it never really took off in the first place.

  • Droid Sam

    While most “in-the know” Android enthusiast could care less about Beats, I have countless people asked me if my phones were the ones with Beats Audio. People do not know what Beats is supposed to do on their phones, but they do have a finely tuned marketing machine which does create demand for the brand. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to know how many more phones HTC has been able to sell because of Beats.

    One thing that was left out was the fact that HTC fulled in nearly $85 million in profit by selling back its share of Beats. That’s nearly a 30% return on the company’s $300 million initial investment two years ago.

  • yurma415

    does this mean their headphone sound quality will improve?

  • TruFactz

    Honestly I don’t think it would break HTC, they had nice sound before Beats. I think it was more of a marketing position than actual “hey, this stuff really makes your speakers go boom”. My cousin had the one s with the beats audio and while it did sound nice, my GS3 at the time had better bass lows and more precise treble. Even using PowerAmp with the beats was subpar. ive tested both phones with some iBeats and some solos and my GS3 won every time. The GS4′s sound quality is very good, highly noticeable in the speakerphone in contrast to the GS3. I guess its because of the fact that you can now use the equalizer for the external speaker.

  • donger

    HTC didn’t make good use of this. They could have had their HTC design studio to design/ customize your phone like what the Moto X is doing. And if purchased with a pair of beats, you could get a discount.

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  • inviolable

    When I had the One S, the Android Equalizer app actually sounded significantly better than the Beats EQ.

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