HTC invests $300 million in Beats Electronics to make their smartphones sound better … really?

About 14 hours ago we reported that Taiwanese handset vendor HTC was going to be announcing “major news today”. Thanks to AllThingsD, we now know what that is. Apparently HTC is going to sink $300 million into Beats Electronics, the same company that makes all that audio equipment with Dr. Dre branding, in an attempt to make their products sound better. Let that sink in for a moment. HTC, $300 million, Dr. Dre, audio fidelity. The official announcement is due to take place later today, but if it turns out to be nothing more than HTC taking a majority stake in a company that slaps the name of a once famous rap artist on over priced headphones made by over worked Chinese children, then we’re going to be in a state of shock. For that amount of money HTC could have bundled premium headphones with all their devices, or soldered some high end DACs (digital analog converters) on their smartphone motherboards, or purchased a stake in Spotify, Rdio, or MOG, or … lots of other things besides etching a brand no one cares about on the back of their mobile phones.

Between this investment, the recent announcement that unlocking the bootloader of your Android smartphone will void your warranty, and the heinous monstrosity known as Sense UI that refuses to die, we’re quickly starting to lose respect for this company. Where’s the HTC of yesteryear, the company that worked closely with Google to launch the first Android phone and the first Nexus device? Has this anything to do with HTC’s Chief of Innovation Horace Luke recent resignation? Is the company now run by a bunch of accountants and public relations pricks? All signs point to yes.

Luckily for us Samsung is quickly transforming themselves into the cool kid on the block. Motorola could get some kudos from us too, but only if they decide to put the team who invented MotoBLUR on a sheet of ice and push them off to sea.

  • While I agree that 300m could have been better spent, I disagree on the bootloader and Sense issues. 

    If I unlock my bootloader now, it voids my warranty. Everyone knows that, it’s not a big deal to most people. The difference is that HTC is going to make it easier to unlock the bootloader. The same risks are involved, including the possibility that you do something stupid and brick your phone. I don’t see why anyone would expect them to honor the warranty after unlocking the bootloader, to be honest. Seems a bit silly. 

    Sense UI is, imo, significantly better than stock Android. Sure, it’s a bit slower (especially if you use the craptastic launcher), but the feature enhancements are nearly endless. Specifically the Exchange email client – heads and tails better, with custom polling options, ability to subscribe to specific folders, better attachment support, the list goes on. The camera app is also significantly better, with more useful options such as face recognition, etc. There are also quite a few convenience features, such as the phone quieting the ringer when you pick it up, silencing when you flip it over, etc. 

  • Sikoradave

    Yeah I disagree with almost everything the author has posted. The investment may not need a major announcement, but is there really a big deal with HTC trying to improve their hardware? Their profits grow each quarter in great numbers, obviously they have faith that this company will help out with their future smartphone’s sound quality. HTC just wants to compete in the caliber as Apple when it comes down to sound media, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

    HTC is a company that are selling smartphones like hotcakes, the main reason is because they make solid phones for various carriers. HTC Sense is great, most people who I have talked to love HTC Sense…if you don’t like it, the great thing about Android is that there are ways to remove it such as launchers. If you don’t like HTC Sense, go for another device, get a launcher, void your warranty who cares. Its not like the issues with Android and having a warranty voided is a new type of concept. 

    So, stop complaining that HTC is allowing users to now have an unlocked bootloader and the possibility of improved sound on future devices, they are moving with the times and they will continue too. 

  • Anonymous

    “the heinous monstrosity known as Sense UI that refuses to die”

    Huh?  Sense is easily one of the best smartphone UIs available.  Have you actually ever used it?

  • Anonymous

    “the heinous monstrosity known as Sense UI that refuses to die”

    Huh?  Sense is easily one of the best smartphone UIs available.  Have you actually ever used it?

  • YouFuckingKiddingMe

    Author, you’re a fucking dumbass. Period. Its because of faggots like you that they want to remove HTC sense, remove the bootloader unlock tool, and screw up HTC smartphones. Also, it being the company Dr.Dre has no fucking thing to do with dr.dre.

  • YouFuckingKiddingMe

    Meant company for Dr.Dre*** should let you edit.

  • Stefan, I am surprised with the investment in beats (beats me too, lol) but I am truly unable to comprehend your hatred of sense. I have a rooted thunderbolt running a sense 3.0 rom and a rooted inc 2 again running sense 3.0. I had been trying my absolute damndest to make any aosp rom work for me for a while, mainly because all the so called android experts were so gaga over AOSP vanilla roms. However, I gave up this morning and deleted all my aosp rom nandroids completely.

    IMHO AOSP roms are so far behind sense in functionality that its only rabid people like you who bash sense. Anybody who actually uses their phone for its functionality will tell you that besides being pretty, its actually extremely functional (especially sense 3.0). 

    Try a rooted sense 3.0 rom or pick up a sensation 4g, delete carrier bloatware and even if you are optically challenged enough to not appreciate the beauty of sense versus the fugliness of AOSP, you will appreciate the usefulness of the following features:

    1. Linked contacts in address book. AOSP roms like CM7 just have the same entry listed 3 times or more (1 for google, 1 for facebook, 1 for skype for example). Irritating, right? Trust me, besides running sense there is not one solution for this. End of story.

    2. Facebook calendar integration. No AOSP rom can do this. Very useful.

    3. Weather Lockscreen, Google reader news widget, friendstream widget, email widget, messaging widget, graphical stocks widget, photogrid widget.

    It does not seem as though you have run any sense rom in a long long long time. There is no other UI available thats good enough compared to sense. There is a reason they sell a crapload of phones without the crazy size of samsung group. Its simply that their UI and UE are the best.

    Samsung phones are nice too but their UI is not nice enough yet – I have a galaxy tab too and am not impressed with the user experience. Hopefully they will improve their phones enough for me to find them useful or pretty enough to consider. Too homely at the moment.

    Motorola, on the other hand, I give up on. At least HTC allows you to unlock your bootloader. With motorola that aint happening. They are just doggy doo-doo.

  • horeabeni

    …”over priced headphones made by over worked Chinese children” , give me a break!
    Out of curiosity, Stefan have you heard of foxconn?

  • Chros

    It seems this article was written by someone who doesn’t even understand the UI he is partly bashing. But doesn’t even know anything about beat headphones. By a fair margin they build the best headphones for the price. I would love to have that sort of sound quality in my phone.

  • Personally, I don’t want ANY products that has some rappers name on it. Period.

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